NGO responds to RSPB accusations in the Daily Mail
The NGO would like nothing better than to see birds of prey thriving across the UK. We ought to be able to work alongside one another to achieve this, but as long as the RSPB insist on demonising gamekeepers, this would appear to be unachievable
In an article in the Daily Mail the Head of Investigations from RSPB Scotland, Ian Thomson, accuses gamekeepers of using thermal imaging to target and kill birds of prey under the cover of darkness.
Thomson is quoted as saying that birds are “simply disappearing into thin air” and because of this, “our supposition is that these birds are being killed after the hours of darkness.” He goes on: “We know most landholdings now have thermal-imaging equipment which they use for fox control, but we also suspect it’s being used to kill protected bird species.”
As you can see, this is a baseless statement, with every aspect of it either supposed or suspected.
There is no proof whatsoever that night vision has been used to target raptors; no proof that gamekeepers have been involved in any way, and indeed no proof that the birds are in fact dead. This is simply another attack by the RSPB on gamekeepers and the shooting sector more widely.
The National Gamekeepers' Organisation have a zero-tolerance approach to all wildlife crime, including raptor persecution, and there is no excuse for the illegal killing of any bird of prey. There is equally no excuse for repeatedly pointing the finger of blame at gamekeepers with no evidence. Sadly, the RSPB do not share data from satellite-tagged birds which prevents us from being able to help get to the bottom of what is happening to these birds; whether this is a case of tag failures, death by natural causes, or indeed anything more sinister.
John Clarke, Development Officer for the NGO, said:
“We would all like nothing better than to see birds of prey thriving across the UK, and indeed most species are doing better than ever before. Raptor persecution is at an all-time low, which is very good news, however we would like it stamped out entirely.
“The NGO work closely with rural police forces across England and Wales to get to the bottom of any wildlife crime offences, to ensure that the law is adhered to, and that baseless accusations are not casually thrown around. Like the RSPB, we want to improve the prospects of the UK’s most vulnerable red and amber-listed birds. We ought to be able to work alongside one another to achieve this, but as long as the RSPB insist on demonising gamekeepers and the shooting community, this would appear to be unachievable."
Notes to Editors:
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation. www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk