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

The Scots Magazine - - Sound Of 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

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