Angus estate penalised for wildlife offences

An Angus estate has been banned from shooting wild birds for three years following an investigation into wildlife crime.

Mark Dowie
Friday, 10th March 2023, 12:00pm
Angus estate penalised for wildlife offences

The Millden Estate, in Glen Esk, has lost its general licence to shoot wild birds after three buzzards were found shot on its grounds.

Two of the buzzards, which are a protected species, were found by police in a bag at the estate house in 2019.

The removal of the estate’s licence is also related to other incidents connected to trapping offences.

General licences are granted to allow landowners or land managers to carry out control of common species of wild birds, such as crows and magpies, to protect crops or livestock.

Government Agency NatureScot, which grants the licences, said that the measure was being taken to prevent further wildlife crime.

Donald Fraser, NatureScot’s head of wildlife management, said: “This measure will help to protect wild birds in the area, while still allowing necessary land management activities to take place.

“We believe this is a proportionate response to protect wild birds in the area and prevent further wildlife crime. The estate may still apply for individual licences; however, these will be subject to enhanced record-keeping and reporting requirements and will be closely monitored.”

A spokesperson for the estate expressed disappointment at the decision.

They said: “The estate does not condone or tolerate any illegal activity relating to the welfare of animals or wildlife and it has robust and comprehensive systems in place to ensure compliance with the law. We were shocked at the time to learn of all allegations of wildlife crime against an employee of the estate. He was subject to an extensive investigation by the police and the Crown and dealt with.

“The employee was suspended with immediate effect and resigned a few days later when the investigation was still at an early stage. At no stage was the estate the focus of the investigation. We consider the estate is being unfairly penalised for events not within its control and for which it bore no responsibility.”

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