The number of birds of prey being illegally poisoned in Scotland has fallen dramatically, according to the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA). Last year, there were 10 confirmed illegal poisonings, with the loss of 16 birds of prey. The figure had represented a 42% fall from 2010, when there were 22 incidents recorded and 28 birds of prey lost.
The statement made by Alex Hogg is welcomed, we must hope this time what the Chairman of the SGA says is factual
This year, there was only one confirmed poisoning incident in the first quarter to the end of March. A dead golden eagle, found in the Highlands in March, was poisoned using the substance aldicarb bendiocarb.
The Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture government body confirmed there will be “no significant change between quarter one and quarter two” for 2012, with the understanding being that only two birds of prey have been illegally poisoned this year to date.
Official results for April, May and June are expected to be released in the next few days, completing the picture for the first half of the year.
SGA chairman Alex Hogg said the results for the first half of the year are hugely encouraging and he believes that the poisoning of birds of prey will eventually be eliminated. (We just hope that this time Mr Hogg statement turns out to be correct.) He said: “As members of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association is hugely encouraged by the results for the first half of 2012. The fall in incidents last year was dramatic and, hopefully, by the end of 2012 we will have another statistic to celebrate.
“The poisoning of birds of prey has no place in our countryside and, through partnership working and education, that message is getting through to the tiny percentage of individuals whose actions work against the great majority who manage land and wildlife responsibly.”
Many incidenets where eagles are poisoned continue to go undetected in Scotland
DC Charles Everitt, Scottish investigative support officer with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “Last year’s drop in confirmed illegal poisoning was very encouraging and to continue that downward trend would show excellent progress towards ridding Scotland of this unlawful and antiquated practice.” (Could the latest figures just show that poisoners of birds of prey are becoming more proficient at hiding the evidence?)
The results were regarded cautiously by the RSPB, who claimed that birds of prey are also persecuted by means other than poisoning. Ian Thomson, head of investigations for RSPB Scotland, said the golden eagle found in the Highlands in March was easy to find because it had a satellite transmitter fitted but others go undetected.