There has been a dramatic drop in raptor poisonings, from 30 in 2009 to just three in 2012, according to the Scottish Government’s first-ever Wildlife Crime report. In total, there were 13 recorded crimes against raptors, including three birds trapped, two nests disturbed and two birds shot.

Raptor persecution within Scotland is combatted by the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW), which includes land managers and representatives from the police and the Scottish Government.

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP, who is the chair for PAW Scotland, said: “I welcome the publication of this report, which is the first of its kind in Scotland. This marks an important milestone in bringing together the data which is so important in helping us understand and combat wildlife crime and it provides a basis for further refinement as data quality improves.

“We must not forget that underlying each and every statistic many of the wildlife offences highlighted entail great cruelty and suffering. Badger offences, hunting with dogs and other acts of cruelty to animals are highlighted in the report. It is disappointing in 2011/2012 these particular three offences numbered 68 recorded crimes. As a civilised society we simply cannot tolerate this level of ill-treatment of our wildlife.”

The rest of this article appears in the 9th October issue of Shooting Times.

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