Scotland

Small rise in bird of prey crimes across Scotland

Red kite Image copyright Thinkstock

The number of crimes against birds of prey showed a slight rise in Scotland last year, according to the latest data.

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland recorded 20 incidents, up from 18 in 2014.

Six birds were poisoned, five shot, there were five cases of disturbance, three trapping or attempted trappings and one chick theft.

Species involved included buzzards, red kites, osprey and a hen harrier.

PAW Scotland has published maps showing the crime locations and the sites of poison baits.

The incidents were mainly concentrated in central and southern Scotland as well as some in the countryside to the south of Inverness.

Image copyright PAW Scotland

Environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod said the increase, while small, was "disappointing".

She said: "I want to be clear that wildlife crime is not acceptable in a modern Scotland and this is why we are doing all we can to end the illegal killing of birds of prey and working in partnership with stakeholders to achieve that.

"Scotland already has the strongest wildlife legislation in the UK and last month I accepted proposals from the wildlife crime penalties review group to introduce tough new maximum penalties for those who commit crimes against wildlife."

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland's head of investigations, said the latest figures show any claims of a decline in the illegal killing of raptors were "wholly without foundation".

Tim Baynes, director of the Scottish Moorland Group for landowner body Scottish Land & Estates, said the annual variations were "very small".

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