7. Scottish Government
This section sets out details of specific projects carried out by or on behalf of the Scottish Government over the time period of this report.
Wildlife Special Constables take up duties in Cairngorms
An initiative to tackle wildlife crime in the Cairngorms was launched 16 March 2018 as the first Police Scotland Special Constables to tackle wildlife and rural issues within Cairngorms National Park formally took up their duties.
The Scottish Government and the Cairngorms National Park Authority funded the pilot project, which saw five officers concentrate on wildlife and rural crime issues. They engaged with other agencies to prevent wildlife crime and built on existing relationships with those living and working in the Cairngorms National Park.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced this programme following a report that found many golden eagles disappeared in suspicious circumstances.
The Grouse Moor Management Group was established in November 2017 in response to SNH research that found almost a third of golden eagles being tracked by satellite died in suspicious circumstances and that the majority of cases were where land is intensively managed for driven grouse shooting.
The Grouse Moor review group met seven times throughout 2018 covering the following topics;
January to July 2018: gathering evidence and identifying key issues
- Meeting 1. Agreement of terms of reference, meeting schedule and framework
- Meeting 2. Evidence 1 (Environmental law relevant to grouse moors, current licensing systems and Codes of Practice, wildlife crime)
- Meeting 3. Evidence 2 (Predation/raptors and mountain hares)
- Meeting 4. Evidence 3 (Muirburn and medicated grit, call for written evidence)
September to December 2018: written and oral evidence, visit to estate(s), socio-economics
- Meeting 5. Written evidence reviewed and oral evidence from key stakeholders
- Meeting 6. Visit to grouse shooting estate(s)
- Meeting 7. Review input from socio-economic study
Following a review of the operation of the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, undertaken by the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy in 2016, a consultation on protecting wild mammals in Scotland closed 31 January 2018. It looked to explore recommendations to improve animal welfare legislation. The analysis of responses was published 29 June 2018.