by Jamie Stewart

The SCA joined our colleagues Scottish Land and Estates and BASC Scotland in calling for satellite tag data from birds of prey to be “transparent and accountable”. The current system allows private individuals to pay for the tagging of our iconic species such as the Golden and White tailed eagles. However, problems arise when vexatious complaint of raptor persecution are made when tags stop transmitting. More often than not, the allegation of illegal action is laid at the door of our grouse shooting estates. The ownership of the tag prevents ordinary members of the public access to the data thereon.

In a letter to Roseanna Cunningham MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, we have appealing for the Scottish government to implement the following measures:

  • Public register of satellite-tagged birds.
  • Licensing scheme for placing tags on birds.
  • Open and transparent data on the movements of tagged birds.
  • Improved procedures and protocols surrounding the search for tags which have stopped transmitting and the associated publicity.

The letter can be found here.

We further commit to supporting our colleagues the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) in calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce independent monitoring of satellite tags fitted to raptor species, to assist the police and courts in potential wildlife crime cases and to provide data transparency.

SGA Chairman Alex Hogg raised the issue with the public petitions committee. PE01750: Independent Monitoring of Satellite tags fitted to raptors. Please make time to sign the petition in order we debate the topic in a public forum.

The petition can be found here.

Somewhat ironically this comes on the back of the Scottish Governments consultation to increase the monetary and custodial punishment for those convicted of crimes against wildlife. Our response can be found here:

and the release of the RSPB’s ‘Bird Crime’ report which outlines the significant progress made in tackling crimes against raptor over the last decade and according to government statistics, demonstrating a major decline in raptor persecution incidents. The Scottish Countryside Alliance is an active member of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime. We are committed to work with the Scottish Government, partners, stakeholders, and our members to ensure this is a continuing trend.

The RSPB report can be found here.

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