Ahead of the Scottish Government’s debate on eradicating raptor persecution from Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) wants zero tolerance to be shown to those who flout the law and illegally kill Scotland’s rare and iconic bird species.
The Trust supports the strong stance taken by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Minster, Paul Wheelhouse, and calls for the wildlife crime punishment to be both proportionate and substantial enough to discourage others.
The hastily scheduled debate is the Scottish Government’s response to the spate of raptor poisonings in Ross-shire – three quarters of the birds killed were red kite, a species which is afforded the highest level of protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
These shocking incidents follow closely on from the death, in suspicious circumstances, of a female peregrine in Stirlingshire, the disappearance of a young white-tailed eagle in east Scotland and the poisoning of a tagged golden eagle.
The Trust believes that such despicable acts not only damage Scotland’s biodiversity it also jeopardises what makes Scotland such an attractive and special place for residents and visitors alike.
Head of Policy for SWT, Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “Sadly, it is also obvious that the recently strengthened wildlife legislation has failed to halt or change the behaviour of some. More worryingly the recent deaths may only be the tip of the iceberg as such crimes often occur in remote areas.”