What is happening to our wildlife? Oyster catchers, lapwing, waders, songbirds vanishing and Scotland's most iconic bird, the capercaillie, all disappearing and still the modern conservationist/environmentalist groups ie RSPB Cairngorm National Park etc. are calling for yet more charity/ public / lottery funding for more studies to save the Capercaillie.

Many of these organizations – ie RSPB, SNH, etc – have been too focused on raptors, predators protection and rewilding, rather than the conservation of endangered species and the obvious cause of their decline. Any farmer, crofter or gamekeeper will tell the same story why these species are declining – the pine marten is killing off the capercaillie, many other species are being killed off by badgers, buzzards, ravens etc. all of have protected status.

Conservation should be more about the management of wildlife – these organisations have no management plan, they are only creating conflict in rural areas, wildlife, livelihoods, tourism, shops, hotels, bed and breakfasts etc. all suffer especially wildlife. Farmers, crofters, landowners, and gamekeepers have been planting trees, hedges, creating wetlands, and wildlife habitat for decades now only to be over-run by raptors and predators.

Farmland and moorland have got to managed by those that live and work in these areas – they have seen the changes. The RSPB, The Cairngorm National Park, even the NTS are losing their sense of direction with their own agenda. When it comes to conservation there needs to be a far greater understanding instead of treating the countryside as a play area to do as they wish, damaging livelihoods and endangering a great many wonderful wildlife species.

The Scottish Government should get out more to meet the real people who work in the rural areas and understand the damage being done to many species of wildlife, farm livestock and livelihoods by many wildlife charities.

Patrick Sleigh - chairman NFUS North East Area Environment and Land Use Committee

West Fingask