Birds of prey suffer massacre on moors

This made us laugh. The Dark Side will be seething about this damaging headline!

Here’s an article from today’s edition of The Times (of all places!) – their interpretation of DEFRA’s crap raptor persecution maps:

As usual, the article sits behind a paywall so here’s the extracted text:

The North York Moors is the most dangerous place for birds of prey, according to maps of England and Wales that have exposed at least six hotspots of wildlife crime.

Thérèse Coffey, the wildlife minister, promised a police response yesterday after the maps charted 262 incidents in which raptors, including buzzards, kites and owls, had been trapped, shot, poisoned or had their nests destroyed between 2011 and 2015.

North Yorkshire had the highest number of incidents at 39, overwhelmingly in and around the North York Moors National Park.

There were 17 incidents in Norfolk and 11 each in Cumbria and Derbyshire, followed by ten cases in Lincolnshire and eight each in Suffolk and Northumberland.

Conservationists blame gamekeepers for killing the birds of prey to protect pheasants and grouse which are shot for sport. Britain’s biggest shooting organisation has admitted that its members have been involved in killing birds of prey illegally.

Ms Coffey said: “These maps highlight hotspots across the country for crimes against these precious birds, enabling the police to crack down with increased enforcement in areas where it’s needed most.

Birds of prey are a vital part of our animal landscape, icons of our cultural heritage and key to boosting local economies by attracting visitors to England and Wales.”

The maps were produced by more than a dozen groups, including gamekeepers, landowners and the gun lobby as well as the Crown Prosecution Service and National Wildlife Crime Unit.

Christopher Graffius, of the British Association of Shooting and Conservation, said that the sport risked a ban unless it did more to root out the criminals involved in persecuting raptors.

This map should serve as a wake-up call for those who are doing a disservice to the entire shooting community by committing crimes against birds of prey,” he said.

The maps showed 146 incidents in which birds were shot and 66 where they were poisoned. In 108 cases the victims were buzzards, which prey on pheasants. Forty cases involved owls, 39 red kites and 34 peregrine falcons. One incident involved a hen harrier, one of Britain’s most endangered birds. The Department for the Environment said that raptor persecution was a “wildlife crime priority”.



19 Responses to “Birds of prey suffer massacre on moors”

  1. 1 Andrew
    December 15, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    U turn or what !!!
    Is this the non driven grouse element now calling the tune before the crap hits the fan.

  2. 2 steve
    December 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Does any of the crime take place on National Trust land? Given the recent strict licencing response to fake Trailhunting Hunting on it’s land, you might expect similar for game shoots.

  3. 3 Homer Simpson
    December 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I see an apologist on his facebook page, is once again questioning the reliability of Satellite Tags. He seems to have missed that this tag.
    a) Stopped working at the end of it’s predicted lifetime
    b) showed signs that it was ready to fail.
    Interestingly it also brings into question another of his popular myths, that the trackers are to blame for the deaths of the tagged birds. This one, despite carrying the tag 1000’s of miles over several years seems to be fit and well

    • 4 Ron
      December 15, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Yes, the raptor persecution apologist never gives up, does he? I wonder how he has so much time to spend on social media?

    • 8 Chris
      December 16, 2017 at 1:05 am

      On the other hand, the fact that one tag has worked exactly as expected until the end of it’s predicted life span does not mean they all will. There is a possibility that having a tag fitted might have some impact on the life of the subject wearing it. Is there any research on this subject? I have an idea on this which I’m looking into at the moment which could give some reliable results to refer to.

      • 9 Michael Haden
        December 17, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Good point, however if it was the tag that was causing the demise of the bird then the deaths should be randomly scattered about their domain. Investigations into the failure of anything (satellite tags, mobile phones, anything) this first question that is asked is are the failures clustered. This could be a geographical location ( eg wind farms or grouse moors) or a particular use.

  4. 10 Mr T
    December 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I appreciate this is old news from DEFRA and I’m not happy about them withholding recent data but I am rather pleased it has generated this headline. And now it is up to us to make a lot of noise on social media etc and get noticed.

  5. 11 Ernie Scales
    December 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Does the 108 buzzards killed include the killings approved by Natural England?

  6. December 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Unusually, I saw a copy of the Times today but don’t have it to hand. There was also a comment item therein by Clive Aslet (editor-at-large of Country Life magazine) which starts well, as I recall, by admitting that illegal persecution was a problem and the industry needs to put its house in order. However, it then slips into fantasy by complaining that there are “too many” raptors in some places and “too few” in others and using this to criticise the RSPB’s failure to support the brood meddling scheme in the west country (Exmoor?).

    • 13 Iain Gibson
      December 16, 2017 at 1:03 am

      The line taken by apologists is very obviously an attempt at damage limitation. Tell the public they are against raptor persecution, insist it is carried out by a few bad eggs or rotten apples (take your pick!), but keep your fingers crossed when saying it. Many years of experience have taught me that only a very small minority of shooters are genuinely sincere.

  7. 14 Giles
    December 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Police crackdown? What as opposed to doing bugger all for the last few years! I’m not holding my breath…

    • December 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Can’t help thinking that cuts in police budgets haven’t helped. There must be a good number of the boys in blue that would think of nothing better than feeling a few posh collars.

  8. 16 Macgee
    December 16, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Police crack down!
    National priority!

    Blah blah blah

    You can only fool some of the people some of the time.

    Same words rolled out time and time again.

  9. 17 lizzybusy
    December 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Why is the RSPB in this partnership or why hasn’t it taken the same step as NERF in releasing a press statement condemning this work? If the RSPB and NERF walk away then the group will be exposed for the pro shooting lobby group it is. I wonder what it takes for the RSPB to say enough is enough.

    The map’s terrible. I can’t find a key for the colour coding and it’s incredibly difficult to work out the locations of incidents.

  10. 18 Russell Smitht
    December 17, 2017 at 1:10 am

    These gamekeepers that kill raptors have very little understanding about nature useally thay are the reason why raptors sometimes prey on gamebirds shooting rabbits and hares and even rats that are 95 % prey items of your biggest raptors wen a keeper shoots a goshawk imagine all the crows magpies jays wood pigeons and other pest speices that these birds control thay are benifical to your countryside even were there his game birds so chaps leave them alone thay are protected and shooting trapping and poisoning them will not make the game bag any bigger i no i am a gamekeeper .

  11. 19 Paul V Irving
    December 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Whilst one agrees that the maps are poor both in their non user friendly nature and the gross omissions of what we would all term wildlife crime against raptors, the Times too is not entirely correct as they conflate the “North York Moors” a specific area to the north and east of York with the moors of North Yorkshire as most of the mapped wildlife crime is in the Yorkshire Dales and Nidderdale not the “North York Moors.” It is surprising how many journalists get this wrong and whilst we are at it the North York Moors are NOT an abbreviation which is the origin of this geographic inexactitude.

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