Protect And Serve
Polly Pullar catches up with celebrated wildlife champion Alan Stewart to find out what’s being done to safeguard species in Scotland
ALAN STEWART is a pioneer. He has justly gained the reputation as the country’s foremost wildlife detective, and has probably done more to stamp out the persecution of species than anyone else.
He is a true countryman with a real passion for wildlife – but has also spent time game shooting and fishing, and has an in-depth knowledge of the modus operandi of poachers and gamekeepers who flout the law.
We first met over 30 years ago, and I thought he was wonderful then, working so hard to resolve problems I’d witnessed all too often through my wildlife rehabilitation endeavours. At that time it was necessary to have a special licence to handle raptors and “Schedule 1” birds for rehabilitation, and he knew I had several owls in my care. He wanted to use one of them in a publicity photo to help with his work with schools across Scotland.
Alan has always felt that raising awareness of wildlife crime is vital, and believes that only through educating the young can we hope to eradicate it.
He joined Perth and Kinross Constabulary in Dunblane in 1966, before being transferred to Perth. Not long after this, the force was amalgamated with Dundee City Police and Angus Constabulary to form Tayside Police. He had a long, successful career in the new force in the CID and HQ Drug Squad covering the entire region. Early in his career he specialised in dealing with poaching cases.
Many targeted species are protected by law but few people are aware