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01 February, 2019

Report finds Scottish raven population healthy

A report published today reveals that raven populations in Scotland are in a healthy condition.

The report, published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), was commissioned to ensure the number of licences issued to control ravens won’t affect the population in the long term.

SNH issues licences to control ravens when they are causing serious damage to livestock, particularly lambs.

There has been an increase in the Scottish raven population of over 50% over the past 20 years, with Scotland holding the majority of the UK raven population.  

Robbie Kernahan, SNH’s Head of Wildlife Management, said: 

‘It’s our job to encourage healthy populations of native species as well as support rural businesses. 

“Ravens can cause serious damage to livestock, particularly lambs.  Where this is a serious problem, and there is no other solution, we issue licences for farmers to shoot and scare the birds. 

“This research shows that the number of ravens killed under licence won’t put the Scottish population at risk. However, we will continue to monitor so we can adjust licence numbers when we need to.”

Andrew Midgley, Environment and Land Use Policy Manager at NFU Scotland said:

“NFU Scotland welcomes the publication of this report. The licencing system provides a very important mechanism through which farmers can seek to prevent wildlife, which is legally protected, from causing serious agricultural damage.

“Farmers apply to SNH for a licence to deal with a problem and it is for SNH to make decisions about granting licences on the basis of its knowledge of the population and species ecology. It is therefore vital that SNH has up-to-date population information.”  

To download the full report, see https://www.nature.scot/snh-research-report-1012-population-modelling-scottish-northern-raven-population

ENDS

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Contact the SNH press office on 0131 316 2655 or snhmedia@nature.scot.

 

 

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Notes to editors

Raven licences granted in Scotland, 2013-2016

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

Number of licences granted

61

85

122

162

Total no of ravens controlled

282

381

561

690

 
All wild birds are protected under law. The estimated breeding population of ravens in Scotland is between 12,512 and 18,768. Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) all wild birds are protected from killing, injury or capture. It is also illegal to take, damage, destroy, obstruct or interfere with their nests while being built or in use, or their eggs or young. Licences are available to enable people to carry out, for specific purposes, activities that would otherwise be illegal. This includes for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot. SNH media is also on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nature_scot 

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. So that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot

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