The number of readers for my post about the SNH bird killing licences has topped 130,000, and still thousands of visitors are arriving every day, from the UK and around the world.
There is huge indignation about the granting of licences to kill native birds, especially those on the RSPB 'red list' of globally threatened species.
With so much interest in this news, I felt obliged to contact SNH again today in order to get an appropriate response given that such a large number of people are nonplussed at the logic behind the issuing of licences to kill such treasured birds as Robins, Swallows, Swifts and even Skylarks.
SNH had previously told me that none of the licences they had issued had related to endangered birds - clearly this was not true - and today I challenged them on this point.
This afternoon I received a reply which I will publish in full here. I feel it neither adequately explains the culling of 'red list' species nor does it reflect in any way the strong public concern over the decisions of SNH which many feel are ill-judged and out of kilter with the conservation efforts we expect to see in 2018.
Also below is a link to a petition started by Henry Wilkie which aims to overhaul SNH and ensure that the decisions it makes are responsible and won't further endanger already threatened species.
The response I received from Scottish Natural Heritage today:-
Dear Mr Endfield
On rare occasions birds on the red list do get into circumstances where they are posing a significant threat to human health and safety. This could be the risk of bird-strike to aeroplanes, a build-up of lethal carbon monoxide by nesting in a boiler flue, or their fouling on food produce, for example. These individual birds need to be removed and a licence is required to do so. Issuing a licence does not automatically mean killing the bird and all alternatives, such as trapping and releasing the bird, or removal of the nest, are exhausted first.
The impact from these licences is absolutely minimal when compared to the other threats that these species face. Often the impact (i.e. a bird lost to the population) has already occurred before the licence is granted, such as when a bird is trapped in a place from which it cannot free itself. Protecting individual birds from any bird species has to be balanced with the need to ensure public safety.
The petition "De-power Scottish Natural Heritage" can be found and signed HERE
Once again, thanks for all your interest and support, it is much appreciated.
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