The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) is today (Friday 15 May) contacting the RSPB to seek clarification on the source of its evidence used in its report outlining the so-called ‘crimewave’ during the coronavirus lockdown which implies huge increases in ‘confirmed’ killings of birds of prey.
Liam Bell, Chairman of the NGO, said: “Briefing journalists that there has been an ‘orchestrated’ attack on birds of prey during the coronavirus lockdown with the implication that gamekeepers are at the heart of this problem is a worry. We ask, where is the evidence that this is actually a coordinated activity?
“Where exactly were these ‘incidents’? How many ‘reports from the public’ have been received? We don’t want gamekeepers to be wrongly accused, or for a campaign vilifying the gamekeeping profession without hard facts. If wildlife crimes have taken place we would like to see police figures, not uncorroborated facts that are used as part of a PR campaign."
Liam Bell, continued: “The NGO takes a zero-tolerance approach to the illegal killings of birds of prey. There is no mention of that in the RSPB report or in any subsequent news reports. Many keepers around the country work hard on conservation projects which directly involve the conservation of birds of prey.
“The NGO is part of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG). At no point has the group been informed that there is a potential problem that needs to be addressed. We have had no contact with them before or during the release of this information and some of the RPPDG members appear to have become a vehicle to support this report."
Liam Bell, concluded: “We will continue to keep working hard to eradicate wildlife crimes of any kind.”
Please find the joint ‘Zero-Tolerance: Raptor Persecution’ statement of which the NGO is a signatory here