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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-16100: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 25 April 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to protect birds of prey from persecution.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 10 May 2018

The Scottish Government has taken a number of actions to protect birds of prey from persecution. These include:

  • Introduced vicarious liability so that landowners can be held responsible for crimes against wild birds committed by their employees;
  • Set up a poisons disposal scheme to remove poisons used to kill wild birds;
  • Introduced restrictions on licences for those operating on land where it is suspected that wildlife crime has taken place;
  • Commissioned a report into the disappearance of satellite-tagged golden eagles, which showed that of around one third which have disappeared in suspicious circumstances many were in clusters on or near driven grouse moorland;
  • Set up an independent group to examine options for regulating grouse shooting businesses, including the possibility of licensing this activity;
  • Provided financial support through Scottish Natural Heritage to fund over £100,000 of satellite-tagging work since 2009;
  • Provided finance for an additional wildlife crime detective post at the National Crime Campus;
  • Provided finance for a pilot project of a new group of Special Constables recruited and trained to tackle wildlife crime in the Cairngorms National Park, which will be rolled out across Scotland if the pilot is successful;
  • Police Scotland have senior officers responsible for overseeing work against wildlife crime. They also have wildlife crime liaison officers in every police division in Scotland, plus more than 100 officers with wildlife crime training;
  • The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has a dedicated Wildlife and Environmental Crimes Unit with experienced prosecutors tackling wildlife crime;
  • Provided ongoing funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU);
  • Provided ongoing funding through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Scotland to support the RSPB Investigations Team;
  • Recently announced the successful outcome of research work carried out by the Scottish Police Authority, Scottish Government and University of Strathclyde which will enable recovery of human DNA from traps and baits intended for raptors;
  • Supported new work at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture to develop databases of golden eagle and hen harrier DNA, which will help investigate wildlife crime.