Hen Harrier Brood Management Scheme A Shining Example Of Human/Wildlife Conflict Resolution

Our letter to The Guardian in response to Illegal bird of prey killings fall to lowest level in decade, but ‘true figure may be far higher’

Alastair Leake Guardian Response

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) utterly condemns wildlife crime. There is no excuse for illegal activity, and it is depressing that the crimes of a few casts a shadow over the vital contribution to reversing biodiversity decline made by the majority of those involved in moorland management.

However, it is disappointing that the RSPB’s latest Birdcrime report fails to acknowledge the extraordinary success story of the hen harrier Brood Management Scheme, which, in just five years, has seen England’s population increase to a 200-year high. It is hard to understand how this cannot be regarded as a ‘meaningful recovery’.

The report also fails to acknowledge that grouse moor management provides an ideal habitat for harriers and other ground nesting raptors such as merlin and short eared owls, which are vulnerable to predation and prefer the heather clad landscapes maintained by the work of the moorland managers. This management protects peatlands from the threat of wildfire and, as GWCT peer reviewed research has shown, is saving some of our best loved waders such as curlew, golden plover and lapwing from likely extinction.

The Brood Management Scheme allows this important conservation work to continue alongside the restoration of England’s hen harrier population. It is surely a shining example of human/wildlife conflict resolution that would be the envy of other countries trying to find similar solutions.

Yours faithfully

Dr Alastair Leake GWCT director of policy

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Hen harriers an gamekeeping

at 21:22 on 05/12/2023 by Gavin Meerwald

Mr Webb seems to be making some rather disjointed judgements along with grave accusations. Gamekeepers, like any other members of the public, have a wide range of individuals. Some of them break the law but the VAST majority are law-abiding beyond the average. The level of scrutiny they are under necessitates this just to maintain a firearms/shotgun certificate required for their job. Unfortunately, bodies such as the RSPB are hell-bent on demonising this section of the public. They will actively encourage people to seek out any possibility of wildlife crime (whether proven or not) just so they can add it to their statistics to get game shooting banned. Any instance of raptor persecution (or other wildlife crime) should be investigated fully and, if found to be true, prosecuted as laid down in law. But, where the case is thrown out by a judge as unproven or vexatious, the defendant should be publicly exonerated and allowed to claim compensation.

Hen Harrier Protection

at 1:25 on 01/12/2023 by Tim. H Walker

I wholeheartedly concur with Peter Webb above

Hen Harrier Protection

at 14:25 on 28/11/2023 by Peter Webb

Dear Dr. Leake, Good article with some positive news. The question has to be asked, however, if, after all these years, a complete cessation of the illegal and idiotic killing of birds of prey in general has been achieved, if not (let's say with particular reference to the Hen Harrier) is this ever going to be achievable, and what educational methods are being brought to bear to get gamekeepers to understand just how the natural world works and for them to then implement such understandings in their daily operations?

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