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PAW Scotland news

Public asked for sightings of rare hen harriersHen Harrier thumbnail. Copyright Laurie Campbell www.lauriecampbell.com

8 March 2017

After a successful call for hen harrier sightings last year, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Heads Up for Harriers project are once more asking people to report sightings of this special bird.

Hen harriers remain one of Scotland’s rarest and most spectacular birds of prey.

The Heads Up for Harriers Project wants to hear from anyone who is lucky enough to see these birds. The project is led by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAW) Scotland and encourages people to report sightings, as well as trialling nest and roost cameras, and encouraging land managers to retain hen harrier-friendly habitat.

PAW Scotland has also published a new map showing the approximate locations of hen harrier sightings reported to the project during the 2016 season (April to August).

Read the full SNH press release...

View the April-August 2016 hen harrier sightings map...


SNH report on game bird hunting published

25 February 2017

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has published a report comparing the game bird hunting regulations in other European countries.

This report reviews regulations on game bird hunting in 14 European countries. It focuses specifically on the legal controls on game bird hunting, including licensing and permitting arrangements, as well as on the requirements for monitoring, protecting and managing game birds.

Read the full SNH press release...

Read the full report...


Rare habitats being damaged by off-road Loch Fleet SSSI - Vehicle damage to sand dunevehicles

7 February 2017

Some of Scotland’s rarest habitats are being damaged as a result of illegal access by off road vehicles, warn Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Police Scotland.

Sites at Loch Fleet near Golspie and Ben Wyvis, north of Dingwall, are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, recognising their important sand dune and mountain habitats, as well as the wealth of wildlife that they support. They are also designated as National Nature Reserves (NNRs).

Read the full SNH press release...


Wildlife Crime in Scotland - 2015 Annual Report

25 November 2016

Recorded wildlife crime rose by 11 per cent in the period 2014-15, according to a report published today.

Latest figures show there were 284 recorded wildlife crime offences in Scotland in 2014-15, compared to 255 in 2013-14. The report also shows however that over the 5 year period between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the overall numbers of recorded crimes have fallen from 355 to 284, a drop of 20%.

Read the Scottish Government press release

Read the full report


PAW Scotland Statement

1 September 2016

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland is calling for a cool-headed discussion about the disappearance of birds of prey in the Scottish highlands.

The call comes following unsubstantiated claims by a gamekeeper who believes ‘bird activists’ might be to blame. Louise Batchelor, a spokesperson for PAW Scotland, says that there appeared to be no evidence to back the claims. There were reports that the gamekeeper said: “I certainly would imagine that there would be a few activists who would take a chance of doing something and I wouldn’t put it past them.’’ 

Reports also said that some pressure groups had called for grouse shooting to be outlawed and they reported the gamekeeper as saying that call ‘might give activists a motive for sacrificing a few birds of prey’. Louise Batchelor said: “The idea that ‘bird activists’ were responsible for the disappearance of golden eagles and hen harriers as part of some conspiracy theory, to smear gamekeepers, is ridiculous. This kind of claim, made without foundation, cannot go unchallenged and PAW Scotland will continue to take the lead in any serious debate about what is happening to Scotland’s birds of prey. ”

It’s understood that the gamekeeper behind the claims does not belong to the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, who are members of PAW Scotland. A spokesman for the SGA said: “As has always been the case since these reports have emerged, our sole focus is the investigation.  The SGA will do anything we can to assist Police Scotland and the Scottish Government in their investigations and we do not comment on the opinion of private individuals.”


Satellite tagged hen harrier missing in MonadhliathsHen Harrier chick - Elwood - in nest

18 August 2016

RSPB Scotland has today announced that a young male hen harrier, fitted with a satellite transmitter as part of the charity’s part EU funded Hen Harrier LIFE+ Project, has gone missing on a grouse moor in the Monadhliath Mountains, south-east of Inverness.

The bird, named Elwood, was the only chick to fledge from a nest in Banffshire, which was being monitored under the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland "Heads-up for Harriers" scheme.

This news follows reports last week that eight satellite tagged golden eagles had gone missing in the same area over the past five years. Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham has ordered a review of raptor satellite tracking data.

Commenting on the latest RSPB press release, the Cabinet Secretary, who is also the Chair of PAW Scotland, said:

“The news that a juvenile hen harrier has disappeared in the Monadhliaths, complete with its satellite tag, only weeks after it fledged, strengthens my determination to get to the truth about how, where and why raptors with functioning satellite tags seem to be regularly disappearing. I have asked for a review of all the evidence and I intend to ensure that data from hen harriers and red kites, as well as data from golden eagles will be considered as part of this. We are continuing to collect evidence in relation to raptors in Scotland, which will be a significant factor in deciding the next steps for tackling wildlife crime.”

(Photo of hen harrier chick Elwood in nest, courtesy of RSPB Scotland)


Environment Secretary condemns illegal use of spring traps

22 July 2016

RSPB Scotland has appealed for information following the discovery of illegally-set spring traps in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. On 27 June 2016 two members of the public walking at Geallaig Hill, a few miles north west of Ballater, discovered a common gull with both legs caught in spring traps which had been set on the ground next to a rabbit bait.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, and Chair of PAW Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham said:

"All forms of wildlife crime are unacceptable and I condemn the illegal use of spring traps wherever it takes place. In Deeside, the use of them has resulted in tremendous suffering for a gull which had to be euthanised. It is difficult to see their use as anything other than a blatant and criminal attempt to target protected birds of prey. The Scottish Government takes this issue extremely seriously and I urge anyone with any information about criminal activity intending to harm our wildlife to contact Police Scotland.”

Read the full RSPB press release...