The RSPB Scotland report highlights the plight of 779 birds of prey illegally killed in Scotland between 1994 and 2014. Of this, 468 were found to be poisoned, 173 were shot and 76 perished in illegal traps. The deaths included 104 Red Kites, 37 Golden Eagles, 30 Hen Harriers, 16 Goshawks and 10 White-tailed Eagles. These figures reflect only verified cases involving a criminal element and so the true figure of birds of prey affected during this period will be considerably higher, with a further 305 credible incidents reported involving similiar methods of trapping; or the presence of toxic bait. Continue reading Twenty Years Of Raptor Persecution Detailed In New RSPB Report
I had my first afternoon of osprey volunteering a couple of days ago and very interesting it was too. The Tweed Valley Osprey Project is based near my home town of Peebles in the Scottish Borders, and is a partnership between the Forestry Commission Scotland and Kailzie Gardens. Up until last year, it also had operational support from the RSPB. These persecuted raptors became extinct in Britain around 1916, largely due to egg collection. It wasn’t until 1954 that a pair returned naturally to the Highlands from Scandinavia and a further forty years before they were once again seen back in this region after an absence of more than a century.
Continue reading OSPREY WATCH VOLUNTEERING
This week’s look at a mammal species you often don’t see covered in wildlife documentaries is found from Northern Mexico, through Central America and into South America, reaching as far south as Argentina and Uruguay. Similar feline species include the stockier Ocelot and the smaller Oncilla. It spends virtually all its time in a variety of forest habitats and is an expert climber, spending much of its time in the trees.
Continue reading THE MARGAY
The Vincent Wildlife Trust is currently conducting a nationwide survey into the distribution of this most elusive and rare creature across Britain. Historically, they were viewed as a threat to game and poultry and persecuted almost to extinction by the end of the 1950s when they were confined to areas of Wales. Their populations were also reduced further through hunting for their fur and general habitat fragmentation from industrial development. However, it gained protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is now a conservation priority species for the country.
Continue reading POLECAT SURVEY
There’s been interesting coverage in the Scottish Media over the last few days about a proposal to relocate considerable numbers of Pine Marten in order to protect the Capercaillie. I am suspicious of the motives behind this and it reminds me once again that my country is too ‘interventionist’ when it comes to one-dimensional conservation practices that seek to save one species by threatening another, instead of coming up with a multi-faceted approach which would address the challenges faced by vulnerable species. The plans have been put forward by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust- a charity funded by landowners, farmers and the game-shooting community. So why are they so keen to protect this mystical giant grouse?
Continue reading HUNTING LOBBY THREATENS STABILITY OF SCOTTISH PINE MARTEN POPULATION