Dear First Minister
I have just written a book, publication date 1 October, called Framing Nature – conservation and culture. I’ll send you a copy, hoping that you’ll have a few minutes one evening to read the first few lines of the introduction, which opens with the tragic story of the Scottish wildcat – a sad tale that mostly pre-dates your time in office. And I hope that you will read on as far as the first chapter, which is a celebration of Scotland’s wonderful achievement in bringing back the white tailed eagle. It is a happy story, but an unfinished one. It is full of positivity and hope, the product of decades of love and commitment from hundreds of people past and present. While most of the work to restore this magnificent bird to its ancestral home had been done before you assumed office, its continuing success and in particular the positive image of Scottish conservation that it helps to promote, is something your administration can take credit for.
But as I say, it is an unfinished story. News of the poisoned white-tailed eagle in the Cairngorms National Park came too late to dampen the positive spirit of my essay. But you can be sure that someone else will write part 2 – the story of Scotland’s inability to confront and control that cultural backwater that is the vast landmass of the upland shooting estates. Here, white-tailed eagles, golden eagles and hen harriers continue to meet their doom. Even our so-called National Parks are not immune. Far from it, they are hotbeds of ill-will towards species of all kinds that happen to be occasionally inconvenient to a few people who disrespect you and the rule of law that you represent.
If you’ve read this, you don’t need to read my book, but please do! It has a lot of good stuff from Scotland – corncrakes (you might want to get your Agriculture team to read that chapter – there’s a message for them in it) and otters – only good news in that one.
Laurence Rose laurencerose.co.uk
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copy in Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham (CabSecECCLR@gov.scot).