Landowners appear to launch damage limitation exercise as police investigate raptor persecution in Aberdeenshire

Today, in response to media enquiries, Police Scotland confirmed that a criminal investigation was underway after the discovery of a dead bird of prey found in Aberdeenshire last month.

The details of the alleged crime, including the species of raptor, the cause of death and the actual location have not yet been revealed but I think it’s fair to assume this is going to be a big story, potentially involving a member estate of Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the landowners’ lobby group.

What makes me think that? The response from Scottish Land & Estates, who posted this on their website today:

14 thoughts on “Landowners appear to launch damage limitation exercise as police investigate raptor persecution in Aberdeenshire”

  1. I can assure you that we don’t have any further information. Our statement is a genuine appeal for any information that would help the police investigation.

      1. I sign up to the principles of the Shared Approach to Wildlife Management https://www.nature.scot/wildlife-management-shared-approach-concordat

        With respect to Adaptive Management – which is what I think Tim was referring to, then the principles state:

        We recognise that wildlife populations are dynamic and respond to changes in land uses, natural events and public policy and that wildlife management needs to adapt to these changes.
        We work within a legal framework for wildlife management, however, we recognise that this can and does change based upon knowledge of numbers and impacts.

        I think that SLE has made our position clear on this in our response to the Werrity review and also in other wildlife management discussions.

        1. Ms Laing, you may well have signed up to “the principles”, but when it comes to the keepers on the ground; I fear that they may have a totally different set of principles, at least as far as raptors are concerned.

        2. SLE is a lobbying group, it does not carry out any wildlife management. As a paid mouthpiece only, it has no control over the actions of its members. There are no consequences for estates that dont conform or only make gestures.

          So, back to Coop’s interesting, unanswered question, as a lobbying group, are SLE seeking to influence agencies and government over a relaxation in licence rules to allow gamekeepers to kill specially protected birds? You know the birds that are currently controlled under the old principles of “Quit adepto deprensus”.

          1. Just the same as the MA in England then all lip service and no teeth to control membership or their employees. A lobby group that pretends to be more than it is because of who the membership are. They pretend to be part of the solution whilst in fact being a major or indeed THE major part of the problem, keepers after all I my experience do what they are told. Archaic, deferential and friend only to themselves.

        3. Come now, Mrs Laing. It really is quite simple…

          Your “Director of Moorland” is on record, suggesting that the killing of Hen Harriers, by gamekeepers, should be legalized. Do you, or do you not share that view?

          And do you, or do you not share the views of your Chairman, regarding “songbirds” and their natural predators?

  2. Police have dont it once again!! Why let a good media story get in the way of a proper investigation.
    same old same old and the birds keep dying

  3. “Today, IN RESPONSE TO MEDIA ENQUIRIES, Police Scotland confirmed that a criminal investigation was underway after the discovery of a dead bird of prey found in Aberdeenshire last month.”

    Can we conclude from the PS statement that had there not been media enquiries the police would still be singing dumb on the matter.
    Anyone care to forecast how much time will elapse between the bird being found and the inevitable late appeal for public help.

  4. FFS the police are not going to get much of a response if the public don’t know what the bird was, what sort of crime it was( shooting, trapping or poisoning) nor where it was. Pathetic.

    1. Yes, Paul, the police almost always adopt this “secrecy” mode. If they were able to demonstrate that their success rate was good then perhaps it would be be justifiable. However, their success rate is downright abysmal and one could reasonably conclude that there are things they are not getting right.
      If one were inclined to be suspicious it could easily be thought that they are not trying very hard (why would that be ?)

  5. I would be interested to know: when was the last time you expelled a member for wildlife crimes? Have they been readmitted? If so, how long were they expelled for? What conditions did you put in place for their readmission?

  6. Sarah-Jane Laing wrote ” We work within a legal framework for wildlife management, however ”

    [Ed: comment deleted as libellous]

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