2017 saw only one recorded incident of illegal bird of prey poisoning in Scotland, according to new maps published by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland. This is the lowest total in a single year since PAW Scotland began compiling data for 2004 onwards. Despite the drop in recorded incidents, data from satellite tagged raptors continues to show birds disappearing in unexplained circumstances, with persecution strongly suspected in many cases. There was a further 36% fall in all recorded bird of prey crimes during 2017. The new figures show 9 confirmed crimes compared to 14 the previous year. Species illegally killed in 2017 incidents included buzzards, owls, and a hen harrier, while the golden eagle, osprey and merlin were victims of disturbance cases. In addition to the poisoning incident, there were two shootings, two illegal trappings and three cases of disturbance. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "While I welcome this further reduction in recorded bird of prey crimes, including our lowest ever total for poisoning incidents, reports from early 2018 indicate that this remains a problem in some parts of Scotland. "It is extremely frustrating that some criminals continue to undermine the good work that has been done by conservationists and land managers in recent years, with much of that work being done through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland). "We have recently provided additional resources to Police Scotland for the detection and investigation of wildlife crime, and set up a review group to look at grouse moor management, including the potential for licensing this type of business. "
Specific details of one of the nine bird of prey crimes recorded in 2017 are currently withheld for police operational reasons. It has therefore not been possible to include the location of this incident on the hotspot maps. The incident is, however, included in the figures provided in the summary tables accompanying the maps. The maps and background data will be updated, where possible, in future publications.
PAW Scotland includes the police, land managers, conservationists and government agencies, working together to fight wildlife crime.
The maps and background data can be viewed at www.PAW.Scotland.gov.uk
Recorded Bird of Prey Crimes 2013-2017, by type of crime