I’m not entirely sure which shocks me the most – the deed itself or the inability of the conservation, political and legal systems to deal with it.
The video released today by the RSPB is nearly four years old. It seems to show a Hen Harrier being flushed off the nest and shot. The RSPB says the nest was on the Cabrach estate in Moray.
Now we know that this sort of thing happens, because the science tells us it does, but it is still shocking to see it with one’s own eyes. The footage reminds me of similar footage of a similar event which led to the prosecution of a gamekeeper not a million miles from this site (see Inglorious Chapter 1 for more details).
So, we certainly know that this is not a very unusual event, just one that is rarely observed or filmed. All credit to RSPB for getting this footage and making it public.
We know why we don’t see such films very often, it’s not because the events are so rare (there may be a similar one happening right now) but because they happen in remote areas and they are illegal.
And so I think it is more shocking to me that the legal systems (north and south of the border) cannot cope with this type of crime, even with this sort of evidence.
There is just a whiff of corruption in the air. So many cases take so long and get nowhere. It looks rather fishy doesn’t it?
Wildlife crime against birds of prey on grouse moors won’t end until intensive grouse shooting ends, and it won’t end until we ban it.