Dear First Minister – from Chris Packham

Chris Packham CBE (for services to nature conservation)

Dear Nicola and Roseanna

I hope you are both well in these strange and worrying times.

I’m writing about the White-tailed Eagle which has recently been found poisoned in the Cairngorms National Park, which by now you will be familiar with. And I’ll speak candidly and frankly.

We, that’s every decent, law abiding, well informed and committed conservationist in the UK, have had enough of this relentless criminal slaughter. We, and you, know precisely who the criminals are and we want you to put an end to it now. Not later, now. We are justifiably incensed by the ever growing pile of corpses which represents not only a considerably negative impact on the ecology of Scotland’s landscape, but also the vile destruction of our natural national heritage.

This increasingly high profile vandalism is not compatible with the Climate and Environment Emergency which you have declared. It is not compatible with the need to protect biodiversity and it is not compatible with Scottish Tourism. People come from all over the world to visit the Highlands and . . . to see eagles.

We cannot wait for the consultation following the Werritty Report, like so much else in life this is taking too long and will be corrupted by parties with a vested and nefarious interest in protecting their criminal element. Figures suggest that almost one fifth of Scotland is given over to driven grouse shooting and yet if Scotland’s economy were the size of Ben Nevis this industry’s contribution would be the size of a small banjo. Why are you hesitating to act against this environmentally destructive practice which is irrefutably underpinned by illegal activities?

There is not a single case of a successful prosecution for the killing of an eagle in Scotland. Not one. And yet, as your own report into satellite-tracked birds revealed, a disproportionate number of these magnificent creatures disappear under suspicious circumstances on driven grouse moors. And as you know, this is just the visible tip of an iceberg of death.

You are in dereliction of your duty to protect Scotland’s wildlife. You are demonstrating a wilful blindness to a national disgrace which shames your government, people and country.

Please act now to root out these criminals and stop this cruel destruction of our most treasured birds.


Chris Packham

If you are maddened or saddened by the level of wildlife crime in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park then please write to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ( and copy in Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham (

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2 Replies to “Dear First Minister – from Chris Packham”

  1. Tough on crime – tough on the causes of crime – the famous politician’s quote. Well, it’s hard, virtually impossible, to be tough on this crime – as the startling fact that no Eagle persecution has ever been convicted. But the cause of the crime ? Indisputably clear and obvious – persecution on driven grouse moors. We can stop this crime – just remove the ’cause of crime’.

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