Video exposes ‘grim reality’ of grouse shooting industry

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Hen harrier: Trap found in nest (stock photo)

Ten-minute film by Chris Packham details the death of a hen harrier in South Lanarkshire.

15th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A new video exposes the “grim reality” of the grouse shooting industry, according to Scottish wildlife charity OneKind.

The ten-minute film, narrated by campaigner Chris Packham, describes in vivid detail the event surrounding the death of a male hen harrier in South Lanarkshire.

The raptor was found in an illegal spring trap on moorland by local wildlife monitors, who reported the find to the Scottish SPCA.

After inspectors rescued the bird, they discovered a second trap nearby. This trap had been placed underneath moss on the bottom of the harrier’s nest, beside two abandoned eggs. No trace was found of the female bird.

The male was taken for veterinary treatment but unfortunately died from its injuries.

Packham says in the video: “This hen harrier was discovered near Leadhills, specifically in an area of grouse moor that’s notorious for wildlife crime.”

His comments echo those of RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, Ian Thomson, who is interviewed in the film.

“This is one of the worst areas in Scotland for raptor persecution,” he tells Packham. “The catalogue of offences here is truly eye-watering.”

OneKind director Bob Elliot, who was also interviewed in the video, said: “There has been a long and well documented association between bird of prey persecution and grouse moor management in Scotland, but it isn’t just wildlife crime that blights our grouse moors. This latest film illustrates the point that in order to maximise the number of grouse available to be shot, any predatory animals or birds that threaten the grouse are viewed as pests.

“This means gamekeepers work rigorously to try to eradicate stoats, weasels, crows and foxes from the moors. These birds and animals can be legally trapped, shot and snared in Scotland's countryside with very little in the way of public scrutiny, inspection, nor regulation by the authorities. 

“Grouse moor managers may kill as many of these species as they wish, whenever they wish, with no requirement to report on the numbers of animals and birds being killed. All so that people can shoot red grouse for fun.”

Elliot said it was now time to say “enough is enough” and end the illegal persecution of birds of prey.

But, he added: “We must also reform and address the intensive management of Scotland’s grouse moors and end the indiscriminate killing of our wildlife.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Land & Estates said: “We utterly condemn all forms of wildlife crime including persecution against birds of prey and we are committed to working with police and other partners to find out what has happened. We would urge anyone with information regarding the death of this hen harrier to make it known to Police Scotland as soon as possible.”

The video can be viewed in full on YouTube.