The number of recorded bird of prey crimes in Scotland fell by 26% during 2016, according to recently published figures.
Crime maps produced by the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland) show 14 confirmed bird of prey crimes compared to 19 the previous year.
Species illegally killed in 2016 incidents included buzzards and a goshawk, while the golden eagle and osprey were victims of disturbance cases. There were four recorded incidents of poisoning, four shootings, three cases of disturbance and three trapping or attempted trapping offences.
Confirmed poisoning incidents fell from six in 2015 to four last year. This is the second lowest number of recorded poisonings in a single year since PAW Scotland began publishing these maps in 2004.
“These latest maps from PAW Scotland demonstrate there has been a further reduction in recorded bird of prey crimes. While this is good news, there is still much work to be done,” commented Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.
“I have ordered a review of the data from satellite tagged birds of prey in an attempt to shed new light on the disappearance of a number of tagged birds,” she said. “So while I welcome these figures today, my message remains clear: The illegal persecution of Scotland’s magnificent birds of prey must end.”
“The National Wildlife Crime Unit, now based in Stirling, plays an important role in protecting our wildlife,” she added. “I’m delighted to confirm a further year of funding to allow the unit to continue its important work and help protect all of our wildlife, including birds of prey.”
If you have been charged with an environmental crime, including bird of prey crimes, then contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today.