‘Report’ now published about the ‘threat’ of reintroductions to biodiversity

Following the blog post from 19 July 2011 (here), the much-anticipated ‘report’ by the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management (VAWM) has now been published on its website. This is the ‘report’ (note, not a peer-reviewed scientific paper) that is supposed to show us how reintroductions are “a threat to biodiversity”. The ‘report’ is exactly what one might  expect from a group who used to be called ‘Vets for Hunting’ and who claim that red kites are ‘threatening songbird species’.

In an article published in The Westmorland Gazette (here) to coincide with the ‘report’s’ release, Dr Lewis Thomas, secretary of the VAWM says of red kites: “They are large predators so they have a large appetite” (and thus presumably they threaten to wipe out every living creature in their territory). Amazing. A fascinating piece of logic, unfortunately not based on any known ecological principle. Tellingly, the ‘report’ doesn’t provide a single piece of scientific evidence to substantiate the claims about the impact of red kites on biodiversity. In fact it doesn’t even mention red kites!

If you can’t be bothered to read the ‘report’ on the VAWM website (see here), just read the comments posted underneath the article by Gazette readers (here) – and breathe a sigh of relief that morons have not yet taken over the world.

13 Responses to “‘Report’ now published about the ‘threat’ of reintroductions to biodiversity”

  1. 1 Kit Davidson
    July 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Why does the huntin’ shootin’ gang keep telling us that songbirds are threatened? These people are of the same genre as the SS (Songbird Survival). They choose a cuddly image that they feel attracts public empathy and flog it to death in support of bloodsports. This ‘report’ was launched at the CLA Game Fair. That little fact contains an enormous clue about the motives of the 570 “mostly” veterinary practitioners. 286? Anyway vets have got to eat. It’s to do with payments from the pipers.

    • July 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      I suppose that red kites have no impact on songbird populations just the same as sparrowhawks and buzzards have no impact on our songbirds. Some of you should check out this years springwatch nest cameras, out of all the food that 1 pair of buzzards brought to a nest, almost 40% consisted of songbirds, you cannot seriously believe that all these birds were dead before the buzzard picked them up, this may be hard for some people to take in because according to some pro-raptor groups all buzzards eat is carrion, i wonder if people would take more interest in our little birds if they had talons?

      • 3 Paul White
        July 30, 2011 at 7:10 am

        I like to check out the evidence for myself GrouseMan. Please can you point me to the link (scientific report) that shows the impact of sparrowhawks and buzzards on songbirds, in terms of population-level effects? Please can you also point me to the link where the calculations have been made that show the diet of the SpringWatch buzzards consisted of 40% songbirds? Can you also point me to the evidence that shows which pro-raptor groups claim that all buzzards eat is carrion? Thanks.

  2. 5 Stewart Love
    July 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Of course Raptors take some songbirds, nobody disputes that, but by far the biggest threat to songbirds is the loss of habitat mainly caused by industrial style farming. i.e. Spraying of insecticides, ploughing over nests, ploughing right up to edge of fields leaving no rough margin for songbirds to nest and feed in, ripping up hedges that provide cover for songbirds, all this in the name of more profit. This type of farming also destroys weeds and wild flowers that insects such as Bees need, and Bees help to pollinate crops that we humans eat. We keep farming in this way at our peril, eventually we will live in a world with no birds, wildlife, except whats left in Zoos. In other words a desert with fields. Add to this the ever growing concrete jungle needed by the ever expanding human population and soon we will have a desert, a concrete one.

  3. 6 Karen Oliver-Paull
    July 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    It’s nature’s life cycle that some birds eat other birds. Over here, the hawks are having a field day with song birds because people keep clearing more and more forests to build housing estates and shopping mall that, thanks to the housing bubble bursting, are sitting empty. I had a red-tailed hawk screeching at me this afternoon because it wasn’t able to catch the songbird it was after because I have so many trees and shrubs near my feeder for them to take cover from the hawks, owls, and other predators we have here. At least it seemed to be screeching at me since it was looking straight at me. My fields are rampant with rabbits but neither the hawks or the foxes will bother with them. Despite all the predators, we still have tons of songbirds. I think the foxes are eating the neighbor’s chickens but since they don’t keep them in a pen, what do they expect?

  4. July 29, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    It doesn’t matter how much cover you give songbirds, with raptors like buzzards at saturation levels they have little or no chance of survival, you speak of farmIng practices being responsible, but I have yet to see a tractor carrying a songbird to it’s nest, songbirds are in decline all over the country, not just on farmland, how do you explain the decline of house sparrows in people’s back gardens? I think a predator may have something to do with this …

    • 8 Paul White
      July 30, 2011 at 7:12 am

      Please can you point me to the scientific evidence that shows buzzards are at saturation levels? Thanks.

  5. July 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Of course raptors will take some songbirds, that’s the nature of the ‘ecological balance’. It can’t work any other way.

    But I return to the point I made in an earlier comment – there will only be enough raptors as there is prey to support them. And aren’t we forgetting something? In all the comments, I see no mention of DOMESTIC CATS!

    I don’t know the statistics, but the death toll, especially of recently fledged juveniles, must be high. All these raptor-haters and songbird survivalists should factor cats into their equations, instead of instantly blaming our buzzards and red kites. I have personally seen buzzards taking live rabbits, surely a more profitable meal than the tiny scrap that is a songbird.

    It’s a case of many factors contributing to their decline; industrial, chemical-based farming here, degradation of habitat in migrants wintering grounds, the beastly shooting of many species that continues unchecked in the Med during the migration of some of our best-loved species . . . oh yes, and pet cats of course.

    I’m willing to bet that all these factors added up equals a far higher percentage than that produced by natural predation from our birds of prey.

  6. 10 Stewart Love
    July 30, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Have plenty House Sparrows in my back garden. Also Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robin, to name a few. Yes a Sparrowhawk takes a few but misses more than he gets, but the neighbours two cats get many more than the Sparrowhawk. Have chased the cats and made them drop birds before now. Have also seen Lapwings displaying and nesting in fields beside the A90 Aberdeen road and the next week the fields have been ploughed all over, so no more Lapwings. Aye but that’s modern farming for you.

  7. 11 paul irving
    August 2, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Of course raptors take songbirds it is what they are designed to do, of course songbird biology has over the millenia adapted to cope with this. its been happening for millenia before we even thought of predator control its called ecological balance. Despite what these vets, Songbird survival or the shooting lobby claim there is no evidence that predation causes population decline and this despite SS and shooting paying for huge amounts of research to prove their case. The case against predators is unproven because they make no difference to populations this si not opinion it is proven fact even Langholm 1 showed that. To put it bluntly what these people and I include all the raptor haters in this say is utter bunk as proved by research.

  8. August 2, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Absolutely, Paul. Why can’t these fools see it? Common sense if you ask me. They should stick to what they know, and not become involved in things they don’t!

  9. 13 sh23363
    August 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    What a curious mixture! We should embrace the positive – that is the recognition that predation is a natural event, that populations of prey species are adapted to cope with it and that predation is a force for good in the environment. Unfortunately the reports author(s) reveal their colours when stressing the need for ‘control’ of ‘over successful species’. It’s a pity that the report can’t acknowledge that most problems of ‘over success’ are mainly a result of interference in ecosystems in the first place. Perhaps the solution is to re-establish MORE former elements of our fauna? How about lynx next? I think I’ll start a petition on that new Government website.

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