“SCOTLAND’S big landowners have backed an SNP MSP’s call for all sides to work together to end persecution of hen harriers.
Species champion Mairi Gougeon spoke out after Police Scotland launched a probe this week into the death of a hen harrier found with “unexplained injuries” near Dunoon in Argyll.
The Angus North and Mearns MSP urged all sides of the debate on raptor persecution to come together to find a long-term way to help the hen harrier flourish.
The death of the satellite-tagged bird, named Kathy, is one of a number of high-profile cases involving hen harrier.
Earlier this year a bird was reportedly shot in Leadhills, while satellite-tagged Calluna went missing near Braemar, Aberdeenshire, and a four-year court case over the alleged shooting of a harrier on Cabrach Estate in Moray was dismissed.
A recent survey showed a 27 per cent fall in Scotland’s hen harrier population – down to 460 pairs – since 2004. Illegal persecution of the bird is thought to be a major factor in its decline. It has been suggested some estate staff kill the birds to protect game-bird species such as grouse.
Heads Up for Harriers is an initiative from the Scottish Government’s Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime to get land managers to protect harriers.”
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