22/06/2013
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RSPB backs buzzard petition

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Common Buzzard is very popular with the public, despite the depredations and black propaganda by shooting interests. Photo: Andreas Trepte (commons.wikimedia.org).
Common Buzzard is very popular with the public, despite the depredations and black propaganda by shooting interests. Photo: Andreas Trepte (commons.wikimedia.org).
RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club (SOC) have today backed a petition calling on the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse to ensure that no licenses are issued in Scotland to allow the culling of buzzards to protect game interests.

Duncan Orr-Ewing, Head of Species and Land Management for RSPB Scotland, said: “RSPB Scotland welcome this petition by Lewis Davies and the massive support shown by the public for continuing the legal protection afforded to Common Buzzards in Scotland, as well as calling on our minister not to allow licensed control of this species to protect pheasant poults in this country. The response of the public has been overwhelming, with over 23,000 individuals supporting the on-line petition in two weeks – it clearly shows the depth of public feeling on this matter.

“The buzzard population in Scotland is naturally recovering after over a century of intense human killing and is now firmly re-established across most of Scotland. Common Buzzard is being wrongly made a scapegoat by a few individuals involved in the rear and release of Pheasants for shooting purposes.

"The available evidence suggests that birds of prey in general, including buzzards, take less than two per cent on average of all released Pheasants. The rest of the 50 per cent of released pheasants that are not shot, are killed by collisions with vehicles on our roads, succumb to weather or other natural hazards, or become feral birds. It is also worth noting that Common Buzzard is a native species, whereas Pheasant is non-native originating from China and other parts of Asia”.

Ken Shaw, president of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, said “The SOC was happy to officially support Lewis Davies’ petition against the licensed control of buzzards in Scotland. We are rightly proud of our birds of prey – they are a great draw for many visitors. Allowing the culling of one of our native predators after decades of persecution would do a great deal of harm to our international reputation”.
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