Raptor Persecution Scotland has published information today about a goshawk criminally killed on a “sporting” estate in Donside, in the eastern part of the Cairngorms National Park, in April – the exact location has not been revealed. The comments rightly raise question about how such crimes are allowed to continue our National Parks and some suggestions about how to prevent them, including removal of gun licences and compulsory purchase of the estates in question. Parkswatchscotland has previously covered some of the powers available to our National Parks that could lead the way to stamping out raptor persecution http://parkswatchscotland.co.uk/2016/03/25/stop-raptor-persecution-cairngorms-national-park/ These could be used now. Whoever is appointed as new Minister of Environment needs to give a clear message to the National Park Authorities in Scotland that she or he expects them to start using their existing powers as soon as possible.
One thing I failed to cover in that previous post was the role of estate management plans. The Cairngorms National Park Authority asks all the estates in the National Park to draw up estate management statement . The Donside estates are smaller than on the west of the National Park but what is interesting is that there appear to be NO estate management plans for the Delnadamph, Edinglassie Candacraig or Glenbuchat estates.
There is, however, an ALLARGUE estate management plan. This estate covers the Lecht ski area and where a massacre of mountain hares took place earlier this year. The plan makes interesting reading. The estate is part of Wildlife Estates Scotland. Its primary objective (65%) is grouse moor management and shooting which, in its words, “involves heather burning, predator control, tick and disease control, careful grazing.” Now, the estate deserves credit for producing a plan – for being honest if you like when its neighbours have failed to state anything about their objectives – and there are parts of the statement that are commendable. Its objectives for grouse moor management though really should have set the alarm bells ringing in the National Park HQ at Grantown.
In publishing this, the Cairngorms National Park Authority appears to have endorsed the massacre of mountain hares for tick control – after all this was totally within the scope of the management statement – and the reference to “predator control” could be taken as a nudge and wink that while raptor persecution is illegal estate staff don’t have to worry too much about that. Its time the CNPA produced a clear statement and consulted on what predators exactly does it think that estates should be able to control within our National Parks. Or to put it another way, when does wildlife, which the CNPA has a statutory duty to protect under its conservation objectives, not count as wildlife and sits outside its objectives?
I will be writing to the Chief Executive and Convener of CNPA asking them why public estate management statements are not in place for all estates within the National Park and on by what criteria these are approved.