Grouse moors for the privileged rich are to blame for persecuting endangered birds of prey in the Scottish Highlands and Uplands, according to, Ian Thomson, the head of investigations at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland. He said data from 77 birds of prey that had been satellite-tagged showed a direct correlation between dead and disappeared birds and grouse moors. It showed hotspots in the Angus glens near Dundee, the Highlands in Perthshire, the Monadhliath mountains and Speyside south of Inverness, around the Black Isle north of Inverness, and in the Southern Uplands. Thomson said: “It is clear from this map that, like golden eagles, the distribution of illegally killed or suspiciously disappeared satellite-tagged red kites and hen harriers is far from random, and shows clear clusters in some upland areas. “As with the hotspots for eagles, these clusters are almost entirely coincident with land dominated by driven grouse shooting management.”
In May an expert report from Scottish Natural Heritage on golden eagles said there was a direct correlation between grouse moors and the deaths and disappearances of tagged eagles, and the areas where eagles were failing to breed or prosper. SNH found a third of 131 young eagles tagged over a 12-year period had disappeared in suspicious circumstances or been killed, chiefly in the Highlands.
Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s environment secretary, explained, “The findings of this research are deeply concerning and will give rise to legitimate concerns that high numbers of golden eagles, and other birds of prey, continue to be killed in Scotland each year."