NatureScot, formerly known as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has published a statement in response to the discovery of the deliberately poisoned golden eagle found on a grouse moor on Invercauld Estate in the Cairngorms National Park in March.
[Poisoned golden eagle laying next to a poisoned mountain hare bait on Invercauld Estate, March 2021. Photo RSPB]
Here’s what it says:
7 May 2021
NatureScot statement: Poisoned golden eagle found on Invercauld Estate
Robbie Kernahan, NatureScot’s Director of Sustainable Growth, said:
“This incident is appalling and, without doubt, is an act of animal cruelty. We encourage anyone with information to report it to the police immediately. The indiscriminate use of poisons – as this incident demonstrates – is lethal to our iconic Scottish wildlife, but it can also pose a serious health risk to people and domestic animals that come into contact with it. NatureScot will await a full report of the circumstances from Police Scotland and consider this case in line with our framework for restricting the use of General Licences.
We are committed to working with Police Scotland and other members of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) to tackle continuing raptor persecution and other wildlife crime in Scotland“.
It’s unusual to see a formal statement from the statutory conservation agency in response to an individual wildlife crime, but perhaps the audacity and brazenness of this latest atrocity, and the widespread public revulsion that this still goes on with impunity, let alone inside the Cairngorms National Park, has pushed NatureScot to publish a statement.
The concept of NatureScot condemning the poisoning is solid, of course. Why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t anyone in their right mind condemn it, vociferously? They should also be highlighting and condemning every single wildlife crime that gets uncovered in Scotland, not just the big high profile cases.
But I wonder, having read their statement, whether NatureScot thought they’d better say something early because the inevitable question is heading their way – the General Licence restriction.
They must know that I, as well as others, will be asking about that and they might also have guessed that I’d be arguing strongly that a General Licence restriction is in fact long overdue on Invercauld Estate, given some of the other alleged offences reported from there.
I’ll be writing a separate blog about that though, because there may well be a technical loophole that has allowed NatureScot to ignore previous grounds to revoke the General Licence on this particular estate – I’ll come back to it because it’s worth it’s own blog and I don’t have the time to write it today.