Publication - Corporate report

Wildlife crime in Scotland: 2018 annual report

Published: 23 Dec 2019
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781839604171

The seventh wildlife crime annual report, with new data from the financial year 2017 to 2018.

72 page PDF

1.9 MB

72 page PDF

1.9 MB

Contents
Wildlife crime in Scotland: 2018 annual report
Appendix 4 - Health of the species

72 page PDF

1.9 MB

Appendix 4 - Health of the species

Common name Badger Brown long eared bat Common Pipistrelle bat
Species name Meles meles Plecotus Auritus Pipistrellus Pipistrellus
Summary Badgers are a member of the mustelid family and live in networks of underground tunnels called setts. Setts feature large entrances and mounds of excavated earth outside. Cubs are born in January or February but spend the first two or three months underground, emerging in the spring. Their ideal habitat is deciduous woodland with grazed pasture nearby, but they will use most open habitats Long-eared bats roost in tree holes and loft voids in old buildings. They feed in large gardens, along hedgerows, in parks and in woodland. They hibernate over winter, between November and April. Pipistrelles often roost in the roof spaces of houses and can often be seen in gardens at dusk. Pipistrelles hibernate over winter, usually between November and April, although they may come out to feed on warm days.
Diet They mainly feed on earthworms, but also eat small mammals, birds eggs, fruit and roots and bulbs. They feed on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark using echolocation. They feed on midges, moths and other flying insects which they find in the dark using echolocation.
Appearance Badgers are large and grey, with a short fluffy tail, black belly and paws and the distinctive black and white-striped face The brown long-eared bat has greyish-brown fur and characteristically big ears. It shows a relatively slow, fluttery flight. Pipistrelles have dark, golden-brown fur, a slightly paler underside and a darker mask around the face. Their flight is rapid with lots of twists and turns.
Size Length: up to 1.2m including tail, weight: 7-17kg Length: 9cm Weight: 5-11g

Wingspan: 25cm
Length: 3-5cm Weight: 3-8g

Wingspan: 20cm
Lifespan Average of 3 years (up to 14) Average of 4-5 years (up to 30) Average of 4-5 years (up to 12)
Status Protected in the UK by the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
Distribution Found throughout most of Scotland except for the far north. Absent from Scottish Islands. Widespread throughout the country, but absent from some Scottish Islands Widespread, found throughout the country, only absent from Shetland and parts of Orkney.
Population The available evidence indicates that the badger population is rising National data shows the UK brown long eared bat population to be stable Stable, with common and soprano pipistrelle bats accounting for over 80% of Scotland’s bats.
Monitoring The Scottish Badgers distribution survey is an on-going project by volunteers. Disease monitoring in badgers is largely carried out via road casualties. British bats are monitored via the National Bat Monitoring Programme, which uses data from four different types of annual survey bats across Britain. British bats are monitored via the National Bat Monitoring Programme, which uses data from four different types of annual survey bats across Britain.
Threats Construction of roads, housing and other developments may have a direct impact on badger habitat, this should be mitigated by planning control, A major cause of mortality in badgers is road accidents. On-going threats to Scottish bats include pressure from human disturbance to roosting sites and foraging grounds. Roosts may be lost during development through demolition or renovation of buildings without provisions to replace roosting sites On-going threats to Scottish bats include pressure from human disturbance to roosting sites and foraging grounds. Roosts may be lost during development through demolition or renovation of buildings without provisions to replace roosting sites

Common name FWPM Red deer Roe Deer
Species name Margaritifera margaritifera L Cervus elaphus Capreolus capreolus
Summary Freshwater pearl mussels live in the bottom of fast-flowing streams and rivers where they may be completely or partially covered in sand or gravel. They need water of the highest quality as they spend their first year harmlessly attached to the gills of either salmon or trout before dropping off onto the river bed. Red deer have adapted to living on open hillsides and moorlands throughout much of Scotland. They can also be found in coniferous and deciduous forests. Although symbolic of wild and remote areas, red deer now also occupy areas closer to people, even entering some suburbs. Roe deer are generally seen in loose family groups or as individual animals. They are generally found in woodlands, particularly around the edges where the woodland meets open ground, including farmland. They are increasingly found in and around our towns.
Diet They feed by filtering food particles out of the river water, filtering up to 50l a day Red deer graze and browse a wide variety of plants including grasses, red deer heather, shrubs and trees. Their diet includes a variety of woodland plants including herbs, brambles, ivy, heather, bilberry & coniferous tree shoots
Appearance They are dark brown to black and much larger than their marine relatives Red Deer are dark russet-brown in colour, with a paler buff rump patch and a pale tail. Males have large, branching antlers, increasing in size as they get older. Roe deer are small with a summer coat of reddish brown turning to grey, pale brown or black in winter. They have a black nose, white chin and white rump patch with a short tush in females. Antlers are rough, short and have three tines on each.
Size Shell length: 80-145mm Length: 1.7-2.6m Weight: 100-340kg

Height: 1.2m at the shoulder
Length: 0.9-1.3m Weight: 10-25kg

Height: 60-75cm at the shoulder
Lifespan Over 100 years 16-18 years Average 7 years (up to 16)
Status Critically endangered in Europe(IUCN), Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Common protected under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Common protected under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996.
Distribution There are freshwater pearl mussel populations in 115 watercourses in Scotland with the majority of these rivers located in the Highlands and the Western Isles Common throughout Scotland Common throughout Scotland
Population Declining in Scotland Evidence suggests that population level is stable. Evidence suggests that population level is stable.
Monitoring National survey published in 2009 and 2015. Our most critical freshwater pearl mussel populations are monitored every six years as part of SNHs Site Condition Monitoring programme. Actions to monitor the numbers and impacts of red deer in the uplands are included in the Deer Management Plans produced by Deer Management Groups Actions to monitor the numbers and impacts of roe deer in the uplands are included in the Deer Management Plans produced by Deer Management Groups
Threats Illegal pearl-fishing invariably kills mussels. Water pollution and damage to river beds and banks can seriously affect populations Disease and poaching will have an impact on the health of deer, although there is no evidence to suggest that either are having an impact at the population level. Disease and poaching will have an impact on the health of deer, although there is no evidence to suggest that either are having an impact at the population level.

Common name Brown Hare Atlantic Salmon Golden eagle
Species name Lepus europaeus Salmo Salar Aquila chrysaetos
Summary Hares shelter in a ‘form’, a shallow depression in the ground or grasses. They are most common in grassland and at woodland edges. In early spring, brown hares are at their most visible as the breeding season encourages fighting or ‘boxing’. Salmon travel upstream from November to February, to breed in gravel-bottomed headwaters. The juveniles will stay in freshwater for up to six years, after which they migrate back to the sea – morphological changes allowing them to survive in saltwater. A rare bird of the mountains and moorlands of Scotland, golden eagles have large home territories, nesting on rocky cliff faces and in trees where it builds a giant nest or ‘eyrie’. These nests are often used by successive generations to rear their own young. Golden eagles pair for life.
Diet They graze on vegetation and bark from young trees and bushes Salmon feed on invertebrates and small fish as juveniles, and squid and fish in the sea. They mainly hunt rabbits and hares but will also catch foxes, young deer and large birds like grouse.
Appearance Hares are golden-brown in colour, with a pale belly and a white tail. It is larger than the rabbit, with longer legs and longer ears with black tips. Adult salmon are much larger than trout; they are silvery with a few dark spots on the back and may have a pinkish flush to the belly. Mature males may develop a hooked lower jaw, or kype, in the breeding season. A massive bird of prey, adults are mainly dark brown, with a golden head and neck. Young birds have white patches in their wings and a white base to the tail.
Size Length: 50-70cm Weight: 2-5kg Length: 1.2-1.5m Weight: up to 40kg Length: 76-90cm Wingspan: 2.1m

Weight: 3.7-5.3kg
Lifespan Average 4 years (up to 12) Average 4-10 years (up to 13) Average 15 years (up to 23)
Status Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Classified as Lower Risk/Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.
Distribution Widespread throughout Scotland, largely replaced by mountain hares in upland areas They are mostly found rivers in the north and west and spend most of their lives out at sea. The species can be seen widely across the Highlands and Islands primarily in upland habitats.
Population A 2017 assessment of the future prospects of brown hares, indicates that the population is likely to remain stable. Declining globally The population has increased since the previous national survey in 2003 and has passed the 500 pair target stated in the SNH Golden Eagle Conservation Framework report as being required to reach favourable conservation status.
Monitoring Since 1995, data has been collected under the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) organised by the British Trust for Ornithology. The North Atlantic Conservation Organisation and the International Council for Exploration of the Seas Working Group on North Atlantic Salmon maintain an overview of Atlantic salmon stocks Around half the breeding population is monitored annually by Scottish Raptor Study Group
Threats Brown hares are a quarry species and driven shoots can reduce populations by 30 - 70%. Other illegal forms of hunting including hare coursing may add to this The illegal exploitation of Atlantic salmon occurs both inland and in estuarine coastal areas. Freshwater quality, connectivity from the river mouth to potential spawning areas and predation can have a significant impact. Natural mortality can include collisions with power lines, starvation and disease.

Illegal persecution regionally remains a significant concern.

Common name Hen Harrier Peregrine Falcon Red Kite
Species name Circus cyaneus Falco peregrinus Milvus milvus
Summary Hen harriers are medium sized raptors that nest on the ground in long vegetation usually heather. Whilst they breed in upland areas, most migrate to lowland and coastal habitats for the winter. Distances vary with most staying within the UK but some reach the continent. They form communal roosts out with the breeding season. The peregrine falcon suffered from persecution and pesticide poisoning in the early 20th century. Over the last couple of decades they have been doing very well. They have been known to nest on tall, city structures, replicating the precipitous cliff edges that they would naturally nest on. A large raptor that nests in trees mostly in small woods or near the edges of larger woods. They are found mostly on lowland or upland edge habitats, although they will visit moorland. They are social birds especially out with the breeding season and form communal roosts which can number scores of birds in Scotland.
Diet They hunt a wide range of small to medium sized birds and mammals. They hunt medium sized birds such as pigeons and small ducks They have a varied diet and are an opportunist scavenger, eating both carrion and small mammals, birds and insects.
Appearance Males are a pale grey colour, females and immatures are brown with a white rump and a long, barred tail which give them the name 'ringtail'. The peregrine is Scotland’s biggest falcon; dark grey and white with black bars. It has a white throat and cheeks and a black moustache and mask. Red kites are large, have reddish-brown colourings and a deeply forked tail
Size Length: 45-50cm Wingspan: 100-120cm,

Weight: 300-600g
Length: 40-54cm Wingspan: 1m

Weight: 670-1,100g
Length: 60-66cm, Wingspan; 175-195cm,

Weight; 800-1300g
Lifespan Average 8 years (up to 16) Average 6 years (up to 17) Average 8-10 years (up to 25)
Status Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as a Green List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as a Green List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.
Distribution The species is found widely across the country but has breeding concentrations in Orkney, some west coast islands and Argyll mainland. Can be found throughout Scotland, they nests in the highlands, on coastal cliffs and increasingly on buildings and in quarries throughout the country. There are four main population centres based around original release areas for the reintroduction; Black Isle, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire/Stirlingshire and Dumfries & Galloway.
Population The most recent national survey was in 2016 and the population was estimated at 460 pairs. Decreased from 2010 The most recent national survey was in 2014 and the population was estimated at 516-538 pairs, a decrease since 2002 Increasing after successful reintroduction, however the growth of the populations is varied with the North Scotland one in particular suffering slow growth due to illegal persecution.
Monitoring Around two-thirds the breeding population is monitored annually by Scottish Raptor Study Group members. The Heads up for Harrier initiative encourages landowners to participate in a nest camera scheme. Around half the breeding population is monitored annually by Scottish Raptor Study Group There is annual monitoring of a large proportion of the breeding population by Scottish Raptor Study Group members and other volunteers and an annual winter roost coordinated count.
Threats Natural mortality can include starvation and disease. The species has been at the centre of the raptor game management conflict and regionally illegal persecution is the most significant factor affecting the species. Natural mortality can include collisions with power lines, starvation and disease. Illegal persecution from both pigeon fanciers and game management interests remains a regional concern for some inland and upland populations. Red kites are subject to natural mortality and their scavenging habits can make them vulnerable to collisions with vehicles and power lines. growth of the North Scotland population has been hampered by illegal persecution.

Contact

Email: leia.fitzgerald@gov.scot