MSP says Scotland has duty to rest of world

SCOTLAND has a responsibility to itself and the world to conserve raptors, says Berwickshire MSP and environment minister Paul Wheelhouse.

The Ayton-based politician was speaking on the eve of an international meeting, to develop a conservation plan for migratory birds of prey in Africa, Europe and Asia, in Edinburgh in late January.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government is steadfast in our view that we have a responsibility to ourselves, the rest of the world, and to future generations, to protect these wonderful birds.”

Scottish Natural Heritage’s Professor Des Thompson, who chairs the technical advisory group for the Eurasian and African raptors group, and is involved in the Langholm Moor Project, said: “Without international cooperation we will fail to help many of the world’s migratory raptors – many of them travel such great distances through many countries, that just one or two problems in tiny regions will snuff out our efforts.

“Some problems over large parts of these birds’ range are still prevalent, and examples of the use of poisons and traps were truly sobering.

“And we rely incredibly heavily on volunteer specialists to tell us so much about the numbers and status of these birds.

“We have a lot to do to bolster the national and international efforts to conserve raptors, and we have set ourselves an ambitious programme of work to take matters forward.”