The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has welcomed news that the number of birds of prey illegally poisoned in Scotland has once again fallen dramatically.
The poisoning of birds of prey has been universally condemned by land managers and Conservation groups in Scotland and the downward trend will be hailed across the board.
Last year, there were 10 confirmed illegal poisonings with the loss of 16 birds of prey.
That represented a 42 per cent fall from 2010, when 22 incidents were recorded and 28 birds of prey lost.
Now, statistics from governmental body SASA, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, show once again that the numbers of cases are falling significantly.
Only one confirmed poisoning incident took place in Scotland in the first quarter to March 2012.
A dead Golden Eagle, found in the Highlands in March was found to have been poisoned using the substance Aldicarb Bendiocarb following laboratory tests.
The UK government will sign off the results for April, May and June in the next few days, completing the picture for the first half of the year.
SASA has confirmed there will be ‘no significant change between quarter one and quarter two’, with the understanding being that only two birds of prey have been illegally poisoned this year in Scotland to date.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg says the results for the first half of the year are hugely encouraging and believes that the poisoning of birds of prey will eventually be eliminated in this country.
“As members of Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association is hugely encouraged by the results for the first half of 2012. The fall in incidents last year was dramatic and, hopefully, by the end of 2012 we will have another statistic to celebrate.
“The poisoning of birds of prey has no place in our countryside and, through partnership working and education, that message is getting through to the tiny percentage of individuals whose actions work against the great majority who manage land and wildlife responsibly.”
DC Charles Everitt, Scottish Investigative Support Officer with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit said, “Last year’s drop in confirmed illegal poisoning was very encouraging and to continue that downward trend would show excellent progress towards ridding Scotland of this unlawful and antiquated practice. Illegal poisoning is indiscriminate and can offer a safety hazard to both human and animal alike.”