2019 – The year Natural England “betrayed hen harriers to placate the grouse shooting industry”

Natural England announced last week that hen harrier brood meddling was imminent (see here), despite overwhelming opposition from conservation experts.

In response to that news, you really should read this blog from the Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF). It pulls no punches and NERF’s fury with Natural England is palpable.

If brood management goes ahead as planned 2019 will not be remembered as a good year for the English Hen Harrier population. It will be remembered, by leading conservation groups, including NERF, and Raptor Workers across the country as the year that Natural England (the English Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation) betrayed Hen Harriers to placate the grouse shooting industry.

An industry that is, according to Natural England’s own data, largely responsible for the unexplained demise of 72% of Hen Harriers satellite tagged by their own staff. With that knowledge it is not unreasonable to assume that a similar percentage of un-tagged birds ‘disappeared’ under identical circumstances over the same period. It is also clear from press releases issued by RSPB that many of the birds satellite tagged as part of their Hen Harrier Life Project have also suffered the same fate on land managed for grouse shooting‘.

Read the NERF blog HERE

[Hen harrier photo by Alamy]


7 Responses to “2019 – The year Natural England “betrayed hen harriers to placate the grouse shooting industry””

  1. 1 Simon Tucker
    June 14, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Par for the course: badger groups could tell you the same. Natural England, regardless of who is heading it up, is not fit for purpose but it is what this government wants.

  2. 2 Iain Gibson
    June 14, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    This I believe retrograde step by Natural England is yet another nail in the hen harrier coffin. Persecution has undoubtedly intensified since the last national census, as exemplified by an almost total lack of the species in several traditional breeding areas of Scotland, as well as the situation in England. Many raptor workers are at a loss as to who to turn to to tackle this problem seriously. RSPB make tremendous efforts, but do not seem to have sufficient staff to tackle the problem wholly effectively, and both Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage appear to have lost the plot somewhere. The brood meddling scheme is pathetic, and unlikely to achieve anything remotely resembling its ultimate objective. We need a more realistic, serious approach to wipe out the appaling situation.

  3. 3 Bimbling
    June 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Political need requires an issue to go away and the least painful (to politicians) short term solution is either the long grass i.e. a review, or the application of public money e.g. white-tailed eagle scheme, goose scheme, beaver scheme. Usually in the grand scheme (sorry) of things the costs are relatively low and for politicians it makes the problem go away, hopefully until the next lot are in power. The problem only arises much later when NE, SNH etc begin to realise that a fair proportion of their budget is being used for financially unsustainable ‘management’.

  4. June 14, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    The political hue and obvious vested interests ?
    No part of the upland raptor scandal in surprising.

    Keep up the pressure !

    • 5 Gary White
      June 16, 2019 at 1:47 pm

      Contrast this reaction to quite obvious wildlife crime with that of the Spanish government to crime directed at vultures. Police should take it seriously, pro-actively and head on. It seems that everyone involved is scared of (or in the pocket of?) the grouse shooting industry. Evidence may be hard to gather but that doesn’t mean impossible. The DGS industry are the ones who should be on the back foot not the conservationists.

      • 6 Mal Jones
        June 22, 2019 at 6:39 am

        This reminds me of the Defra plan to relocate buzzards away from ‘ affected ‘ shoots . This was dropped and a minister lost his job having been found to have interest in a shooting enterprise . Look in Companies House at G&W C T people list for that politician .

  5. 7 Paul V Irving
    June 25, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Having just returned from a visit out of the country I find this excellent blog post from NERF giving vent to exactly why we raptor workers know this is a sop to the criminality in the grouse cabal ( I hate the word industry it gives them too much credence) The false argument is that brood meddling will reduce significantly the “need” for breeding season persecution. No I don’t believe it either, one question that immediately comes to mind is was the meddled pair monitored after meddling to ensure they were not killed? If not why not, its what happened in that general area when a pair were fed ( the male ” disappeared” about a week later). So how many more young harriers need to die before this unfounded and immoral nonsense is scrapped?

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