Gamekeepers given green light to slaughter ravens

Raven crop

​A group of gamekeepers and farmers will exterminate hundreds of ravens over a five year period

Graham Martin's photo

20th April 2018 by Graham Martin 5 Comments

Conservationists have reacted with fury and disbelief at the decision to allow a mass cull of ravens in Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has issued a licence authorising the slaughter of hundreds of birds by gamekeeping and farming interests over a large area of Perthshire.

The five year experiment is supposedly to see what impact the ravens’ removal has on populations of wading birds.

Scotland's Raptor Persecution group reports that the licence has been granted to an entity called Strathbraan Community for Waders.

According to its licence application, which is supported by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, it “represents some of the local land management (farmers, gamekeepers) and private interests in the area who value wading birds for their biodiversity, social and economic value to the area and to Scotland more widely.”

The area where the cull will be carried out also happens to cover several grouse shooting estates, taking in an area which is notorious as a “black hole” for wildlife crime, most especially the destruction of endangered birds of prey.

Grouse shooting interests have been put in the frame for the killings.

Just this week, it was reported that a satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle has gone missing in mysterious circumstances in the Glen Quaich area, which will be covered by the cull licence.

This is the fourth satellite-tagged eagle (the other three have been golden eagles) to go missing in this area since 2014.

Raptor Persecution has written a blog detailing its alarm and concern about the licence, calling into question its motives and basic science.

It has asked people to email Mike Cantlay, SNH chair, calling on him to withdraw the licence.

Raven populations in Scotland are only beginning to recover after centuries of persecution by gamekeeping interests.

The largest of the crow family, they are well known as one of the most intelligent bird species.

Robbie Kernahan, SNH head of wildlife, said: “We understand the concerns over wildlife crime in Strathbraan, but we are also clear that the granting of this licence is wholly unconnected to the issues concerned.

“This licence is about a pressing and complex conservation issue. It  is a large-scale collaborative trial which will help improve our understanding of factors affecting key wader species, populations of which are declining at an alarming rate. We are satisfied this licence will not affect the population of ravens overall, and is over a five year period.

“The licence places significant responsibility and expectations on all those involved – to be able to show that this approach can work and will help deliver what are essentially shared objectives.

"Trust is a key element of this and this presents a great opportunity to develop that trust and relationships with all involved. If it becomes apparent that actions are not being carried out in accordance with the terms of any licence then we will have no hesitation in removing the licence.”

21st April 2018 by Keli Usher-Holmes

Disgusting culling Ravens should be humans as need culling with their pathetic hold over nature

21st April 2018 by Kenneth TAYLOR

Don't forget the RSPB quote.A quote from RSPB Scotland Head of Species & Land Managament, Duncan Orr-Ewing:“We are extremely concerned about the likely scale on impact of this research licence on the local raven population in the Strathbraan area of Perthshire. We are also very surprised that SNH have issued such a research licence in the vicinity of Strathbraan, which has an appalling and well documented track record of illegal persecution of raptors, noting also the very recent “suspicious” disappearance of a satellite tagged white-tailed eagle in this very same area.We, together with local raptor workers who have been monitoring ravens in the area for decades, could have helped SNH with this background detail to the licence application if we had been consulted.We will be seeking a high level meeting with SNH shortly to discuss. We will be pressing for the research licence to be revoked on the back of the white-tailed eagle incident, and instead consideration given by SNH to removing the use of the Open General Licence in this area, as is within their powers“.

23rd April 2018 by Steve MacSweeney

Quite unbelievable . The commercial shooting industry strikes again.Arrogant management of nature. Anyone with a gram of common sense sees through this. Hang your heads low SNH, whoever and whatever you are. Better still resign and beg Tescos for a job.

23rd April 2018 by robert graham

who are these people who think they can gallop over our countryside slaughtering everything they decide they dont like without having an open discussion about their plans for nature

23rd April 2018 by Linda Calder

This is wrong on so many levels, human beings should protect the planet and creatures living in it. Please stop this cull. It could do untold damage to the ecosystem.