Scottish gamekeepers have urged the public to take an “evidence-led” view on bird of prey deaths in Scotland following the publication of a new RSPB Scotland report on the subject.

The Illegal Killing of Birds of Prey in Scotland 2011 concludes that illegal shooting, trapping, nest destruction and poisoning remain a “significant threat” to Scotland’s birds of prey.

It also states that the majority of incidents of illegal killing last year took place in “areas managed for driven grouse shooting”, particularly in the eastern and central Highlands and the southern Uplands.

But Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) chairman Alex Hogg stressed that 2011 marked the lowest incidence of bird of prey abuse cases in Scotland since mapping techniques were started four years ago.

Mr Hogg said: “This is at a time when raptor numbers are, in many cases, the highest ever recorded and more and more people are losing an increasing number of livestock to birds of prey, putting jobs and families at risk in a difficult time for the Scottish economy.

The rest of this article appears in the 12th December issue of Shooting Times.

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