Yet another raptor killed in the Cairngorms National Park

May 9, 2016 Nick Kempe 2 comments

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   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.


2 Comments on “Yet another raptor killed in the Cairngorms National Park

  1. Killing Mountain Hares for the purpose of tick control is a poor excuse. Just another ploy by the killing estates, to destroy the habitat.

    If the killing estates cannot comply to current laws on protected species then take the guns and the estates off them.

    The ticks are increasing in number because of milder winters. As a visitor to Scotland on outdoor activities, I have to check myself daily for ticks embedded in my skin, it happens far more frequently now than 10 to 15 years ago. Before the 1990’s I’d hardly heard of tick problems and certainly never had to extract them from my body. And it is not due to unfamiliarity, I have removed many from pet animals over the last 50 years.

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