Anti-raptor rhetoric continues

Robin Page 2The Daily Mail has published an article today written by Robin Page (Boring Ape for you anagram fans) which claims that ‘do-gooders’ (that’ll be conservationists) are letting ‘killer birds’ (that’ll be raptors) ‘terrorise the countryside’ (that’ll be behaving as natural predators).

He doesn’t quite go as far as saying raptors will kill your children and bring a plague on your houses, but he does suggest that your pets aren’t safe while these ‘aggressive killers’ are on the loose.

The anti-raptor rhetoric is nothing new from the Boring Ape – he’s been at it for years (see here). Safe to say he’s not best known for his grasp of science, ecological principles, and especially predator-prey relationships. He is quite good though at cherry-picking data and presenting them out of context. He implies that the hen harrier population doesn’t need to be increased, using national (UK) population figures to support this claim but omitting to mention that (a) the UK population overall is in decline and (b) the English population is on its knees, thanks to the illegal persecution it suffers at the hands of gamekeepers on driven grouse moors.

No surprise, either, that his latest offering has been published by the Daily Mail; editor Paul Dacre just happens to own a grouse shooting estate in Scotland.

Daily Mail article here

The Boring Ape will be taking part in a debate on raptors next weekend (assuming he hasn’t been carried off by one of those frightening sparrowhawks), pitted against Mark Avery at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival (see here).

UPDATE 12th May 2015: Robin Page’s anti-raptor rhetoric torn to shreds (see here).

23 Responses to “Anti-raptor rhetoric continues”

  1. 1 Richard Would
    May 11, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Let’s hope Mark Avery rips him a new arsehole….

  2. 2 Nigel Raby
    May 11, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Both him & Dacre are a pair of Ar**s. Made for each other it seems!

  3. May 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Wonder which bird of prey knocked out all his teeth bar one?

  4. May 11, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    This idiot has perfected the art of offending almost everyone – I once had the misfortune to attend an event where he was the after dinner speaker (booked by a very misguided Mayor!) – within minutes people were walking out! – me included. I doubt he’ll be any match for Mark Avery!

  5. 5 Les Wallace
    May 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    This is the same wildlife expert, coz he’s a yokel ya see, who said (along with a lot of our friends in the SGA) that pine martens were killing off red squirrels. Actually they are killing off greys and allowing a red squirrel revival. Hope mark Avery brings that up in Norwich.

    • 6 dave angel
      May 11, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      That’s certainly the line the Forestry Commission are pushing. I’m not convinced. Pine Marten do predate red squirrels and I’d question whether the resulting losses are matched or offset by any gains resulting from them predating greys.

      Old potato head might therefore be right on this one. But as the Polish proverb goes ‘Even a blind chicken finds a bit of corn now and again.’

      Not sure why Mark Avery’s getting involved with him though. It will be like wrestling with a pig.

      I assume Mrs Merton will be chairing the debate.

      • 7 James
        May 12, 2015 at 7:14 am

        It’s a reasonably well established fact and the subject of ongoing study that there is a positive impact on red squirrels by the predation of greys by pine martens in central and west Ireland.

      • 8 Marian
        May 12, 2015 at 7:51 am

        This man needs to be confronted with the educated arguments – and then the public can reject his dangerous views.

        As for wrestling with a pig – this horrible practice still exists in the USA (if not other countries) and it’s not funny.

  6. 9 Andrew
    May 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    So in west Leicestershire we should have a bountiful supply of lapwings? There are very few red kites in that part of the county and not huge numbers of buzzards.

    And when did we notice the the numbers of lapwings had drastically dipped? They were plentiful in the early 70s but if my memory serves me well they had gone by the mid 80s. So something was happening between 1970 and 1990. That wasn’t kites and the buzzard population was only just starting to rebuild and spread. The first buzzard I saw in Leicestershire would have been mid 90s and at that time they were occasional sightings.

    I don’t think it takes a scientific study to work out that reducing lapwing populations was not as a result of kite or buzzard predation.

    Zero out of ten for that part of his article and a similar score for most of the rest of it.

  7. 10 margaret walker
    May 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    When reading a article like this, its to easy to look at the picture of the author, it’s a dangerous message, slowly feeding the minds of people, to mistrust some birds, this may be the start of a campaign of fear, if you tell a story enough times, people begin to believe it, remember these are the rich and powerful.

  8. 11 nirofo
    May 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Let’s hope Mark makes enough mincemeat out of this ecologically illiterate buffoon to feed the Raptors for a fortnight !!!

  9. 12 paul irving
    May 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I’ve only had the displeasure of meeting this self styled knowledgeable yokel (village idiot) once back in 1991 when he was in the company of one Terry Pickford and other “stalwarts” of NWRPG. Strange bed fellows but even then both fairly anti RSPB if it suited.! Page has only got worse with age and his rhetoric would be laughable if it wasn’t given credibility by its national publication. The real problem is we know and understand the motives of both Page and Dacre in publishing this ecologically ignorant crap, but it enhances and reinforces the anti predator views of the readership and may even create new raptor haters, to borrow a phrase from Mark Avery. What is needed is lots of publicity when Mark surely makes him look what he is—- a complete arse.

  10. 13 Stewart Love
    May 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    He makes Worzel Gummidge look posh.

    • 14 steve macsweeney
      May 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Not sure if crawled out from under a mushroom or cowpat.
      In Spain he’s known as Juanita.
      ( one eater–geddit!)
      A neighbour constantly gives me cut outs from the Telegraph of his rants, but
      I suspect he may be preaching largely to the converted, so I wouldn’t worry.

  11. 15 Andy Paton
    May 11, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Time for action to stop EU payments to these Grouse shooting estates and licensing brought in to limit if we have to have them, the estates that do support shooting/ linked to wildlife conservation.

    No more excuses, or time for individuals that are quite honestly not interested in the real evidence of continued persecution that is out there. The Post Code Lottery of Raptor Protection needs to be challenged.

  12. May 11, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Sadly, like the recent liar competition, he who shouts loudest wins. Popular rags indoctrinating, unquestioning folk, with fiction that they believe is fact, “because it’s in a newspaper, it must be true”.

  13. 17 Jimmy
    May 12, 2015 at 12:27 am

    These types will be emboldened with the new all Tory government. We’ve a lot to thank the Daily Mail for – not!!

  14. 18 Chris
    May 12, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Some of what Robin Page writes is sensible, some of it is not. But I have to agree with you here, most of this article is absolute nonsense. Most of the instances here are directly attributable to the increasing human population of this crowded island, and he resulting conflict between our wildlife and human interests.

    This, and human selfishness and greed is the biggest problem for much of our wildlife, and as a species we seem unable to show restraint. The wild is harsh, buzzards will kill the occasional osprey chick, or perhaps the odd red squirrel which is probably too old or sick to avoid the inevitable. Goshawks will kill merlin chicks, peregrines may find a hovering kestrel a sitting target. BUT, they are doing what nature has programmed them to do to survive. This would mostly not be a problem if we had not destroyed, damaged and depleted their environments for our own needs and wants. The significant difference is that we have the intelligence (in theory at least) to find ways of reducing our impact, but most of us are just too lazy and uncaring.

    Sometimes… No, often, I am thoroughly ashamed of my species.

  15. 20 crypticmirror
    May 12, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve been reading his column in the Countryman magazine (also known as “that magazine your granny gets, with the nice pictures of churches”) and he’s gone back and forth on that subject. Some months he’s as frothing as all get out, other months he seems to like them. I’ll be interested in the report of this debate, to see which one of him turns up for it.

  16. May 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    He is a clearly dishonest commentator – he is writing in the Daily Mail after all. I wonder how many British people know that populations of large gulls have crashed, and continue to do so? Firstly it was fishing quotas and tighter regulations on by-catch discards and now it is the reduction in landfill and foodstuff in landfill having an additional effect. Gulls are under threat – and demonising them is absurd.

  17. 22 Merlin
    May 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    he gets paid well to write what country sports people want to hear, don’t underestimate him, prince Charles has even commissioned him to write an article, controlling certain species gives people who shoot the chance to persuade us that they are actually doing some good in the countryside despite the countryside having done exceptionally well for millennia, they want to believe it, this is why he gets so much publicity and its surprising how many people when they see his words in the press believe it to be true

  18. 23 Een Historicus
    May 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    -Already thought it was a picture of the casting for the ´bad guys´ of a new Dickens-film.-. Would like to say Robin Page, that birds of prey are not the property of anyone or anything, and that people who persecute them rob the world of those magnificent birds, who first of all have an ecological function in nature, unlike some other lifeforms. And now it´s time to turn the page.

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