News of a 'significant reduction' on all types of bird of prey crime last year has been welcomed by Scottish Land & Estates, partner in the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime Scotland (PAWS).

Speaking on the publication of the Scottish Government's annual bird of prey crime map today, Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land & Estates said: “As a committed member of the partnership working to eradicate all forms of wildlife crime, we are very pleased and encouraged by the further reduction in incidents.

“Poisoning incidents are down to four recorded cases. Overall incidents have dropped from 19 to 14 in the last year, a 26% reduction and now at the lowest level since data on all types of incidents was first published in 2013.

“This is encouraging news and demonstrates the value of people working together on the ground and raising awareness of the issue,” he continued. “There is still work to do to eradicate this problem and the evidence points to measures that have been put in place having the desired effect.”

Mr McAdam highlighted that Scotland has 'one of the toughest legislative regimes' around bird of prey crime; and that the new figures 'clearly show that it is playing a significant part' in reducing bird of prey crime.

“We strongly endorse the careful use of proven police evidence in drawing up these maps and although there is limited information about some incidents, the range of species and locations indicates that the motivation behind these crimes is varied,” said Mr McAdam.

“We condemn any form of raptor crime and are active partners in projects such as Heads UP for Harriers and the South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project which are working to bring back at-risk bird species in areas where their populations have declined.”