South Scotland MSP on wildlife crusade

Caludia Beamish has questioned why there has been such a small number of prosecutions for wildlife crime.
Caludia Beamish has questioned why there has been such a small number of prosecutions for wildlife crime.

Claudia Beamish MSP is calling on members of the public to be vigilant to the signs of wildlife crime and raptor persecution in Clydesdale and South Scotland.

She has questioned why there has been such a small number of prosecutions for wildlife crime.

Claudia said: “I was horrified to learn that sometimes badgers are killed illegally, by shooting or poison, and can be dumped on our roads to make it look like a traffic accident. Badgers are important to our local ecosystems and are a species protected by law.

“Vicarious Liability, means landowners and shooting business managers can be held responsible under the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act for the actions of their employees, contractors or agents. There have only been two prosecutions for this appalling crime and serious questions need to be answered with regard to how this law is enforced.

“Public vigilance and reporting to the police will significantly contribute to eradicating the shame of wildlife crime from Scotland.

“A local authority in Aberdeenshire has used the location app What3Words which has been effective in reporting wildlife crime.

“I have written to the council to find out if they will consider adopting and promoting the App whereby the public can report concerns using their phone.

“The charity Scottish Badgers would be keen to be notified of any road kill found.

“Information would also help Scottish Badgers to map populations and better protect the species.

“The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee in the Scottish Parliament, of which I am a member, is currently taking evidence on the Animals and Wildlife Bill at stage One.

“As it stands this Bill would see wildlife crime viewed as a serious crime and include sentencing of up to 5 years imprisonment and unlimited fines.

“I am fully supportive of these proposals which might assist preventing wildlife crime.

“If members of the public have any concerns about our natural wildlife, from protected birds, including raptors to badgers, or indeed if they see anything suspicious when they are out and about in the countryside, such as snares or traps, which may be illegal, they should report them to the police immediately on the 101 number.”