The ramifications from the discovery of a deliberately poisoned golden eagle found on a grouse moor on Invercauld Estate this spring are now beginning to show.
Up until yesterday, Invercauld Estate had enjoyed the benefits of a membership of the Eastern Cairngorms Moorland Partnership. This partnership was established in December 2015 and comprised six estates working in ‘partnership’ with the Cairngorms National Park Authority to increase conservation value alongside the estates’ sporting and other interests.
The Partnership’s full statement of purpose can be read here and includes a commitment to enhance raptor conservation.
The estates involved were:
- Glenlivet Estate. 2. Glenavon Estate. 3. Mar Lodge Estate (National Trust for Scotland). 4. Invercauld Estate. 5. Mar Estate. 6. Balmoral & Birkhall Estate. (Boundaries sourced from Andy Wightman’s Who Owns Scotland website).
The Cairngorms National Park Authority issued the following statement yesterday:
Invercauld Estate leaves the East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership
The East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership (ECMP) can confirm that Invercauld Estate has left the group, following the discovery of a poisoned golden eagle on their land. The remaining members of ECMP wholly condemn the poisoning, and are committed to working together to prevent incidents like this occurring in future.
The partnership was established between the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and six local estates in December 2015. The overarching purpose of the partnership is to demonstrate a clear contribution towards the four aims of the National Park, the National Park Partnership Plan and Cairngorms Nature Action Plan, through co-ordinated responsible and sustainable moorland management.
This includes working at a landscape-scale on woodland and scrub expansion, peatland restoration, priority species conservation (including raptors,) and landscape enhancement, whilst integrating grouse moor management with other land use objectives.
The partnership has made good progress on a number of fronts in recent years. This includes expanding woodland cover across the area by 1,500 ha (with plans for between 2,000 and 3,000 ha over the next decade); coordinated monitoring of protected species (including raptors,) to inform a joined-up approach to species conservation; and several hundred hectares of peatland restoration, including mapping areas of deep peat and steep slopes to guide land management activities.
Future programmes will focus on the expansion of scrub habitats and riparian woodlands, alongside further action to restore degraded peat bogs and measures to increase raptor populations across the ECMP partnership area.
The remaining members of ECMP are more committed than ever to delivering the overarching aims of the partnership. Members will continue to encourage the trustees and management of Invercauld Estate to address any issues which have led to the current situation and to take appropriate action.
East Cairngorms Moorland Partnership
(Cairngorms National Park Authority, Mar Lodge Estate, Mar Estate, Balmoral Estate, Glenavon Estate and Glenlivet Estate)
As aways with these things, the statement does not make clear whether Invercauld Estate was dismissed or whether it left of its own accord. We can speculate, of course, and on that basis I’d suggest Invercauld Estate was told to go because by remaining, it would likely bring acute embarrassment to the ‘partnership’, especially if/when NatureScot decides to issue a General Licence restriction on the basis of evidence supplied by Police Scotland of ongoing criminality on this estate.
Many of these so-called ‘partnerships’ are often nothing more than a conservation sham when you look at some of the organisations involved and their appalling track record of raptor persecution. For example the PAW Scotland Raptor Group, the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative, the Heads Up for Hen Harriers project – on and on it goes. It’s very good to see, in this case, that the integrity of the partnership’s conservation values has been put first.
Now what we need to see is the shooting industry and its clients demonstrate the same level of integrity and vote with their wallets and feet.