He worked on an estate owned by Philip Astor, a member of the famous Anglo-American dynasty and vice-chairman of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, an influential campaigning body which advised Astor on his pheasant shoots.
The Guardian has established that the conservation agency Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) imposed the ban on the head gamekeeper on 15 September last year, after an incident in March 2014 involving a baited trap near a goshawk nest on Astor’s estate. But neither he nor the estate involved were named.
The incident was filmed by a covert camera placed near the nest by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as part of a wider investigation into illegal persecution of goshawks across the surrounding area.
Astor sold Tillypronie – a 50 sq km estate near Balmoral which boasts grouse and pheasant shoots, deer stalking, tenant farms, and salmon and trout fishing on the river Don – in various lots last year. It went on the market for offers over £10.5m.
It is the first time SNH has imposed a so-called general licence restriction, which bars a shooting estate or person from controlling wild birds on their land for safety or health reasons, on an individual.
The sanction restricts an individual’s ability to work as a gamekeeper. It is understood the man, who no longer works at Tillypronie, was made head keeper in 2012 and was still employed there in 2016.
Source: The Guardian
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