Letter: Raptors at risk

This week's excellent BBC2 programme Fair Game merits a response on two counts.

In some quarters red grouse management for shooting purposes is held up as a perfect system of land management.

Without denying any environmental benefit of grouse moors, such management (all too often involving extensive criminal persecution of protected birds of prey) falls well short of realising the full biodiversity potential of the uplands.

Calls for licensed control of native raptors for protection of non-native game birds are absurd, given the vast numbers of the latter that are reared and released each year. Where is the evidence of significant raptor predation on them?

Patrick Stirling-Aird

Scottish Raptor Study Groups

Old Kippenross

Dunblane

The shooting and poisoning of raptors in Scotland is a major problem and, owing to the vast area to be covered, these crimes lead to very few prosecutions, which reflects only a small part of the overall problem.

Gamekeepers are responsible for the land in their care and are often under considerable clandestine pressure to maintain numbers of birds for the guns.

Issuing licences to shoot certain birds of prey would be tantamount to an open season on all raptors and could quickly lead to the extinction of birds currently under threat.

Dennis Grattan

Mugiemoss Road

Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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