People and nature in conflict: can we reconcile hen harrier conservation and game management?
1. The hen harrier is one of the UK's most threatened birds of prey. The principal threat comes from illegal killing, allegedly by upland gamekeepers across moorland areas managed for 'driven' red grouse shooting. Some gamekeepers kill harriers because of the potential impact of harrier predation on red grouse populations and shooting bags. This paper explores alternative approaches to help resolve the conflict which gives rise to illegal persecution.
2. There are two distinct, but not exclusive, types of approaches: those involving enforcement of existing laws, and those involving measures to achieve consensus and cooperation. Specific alternatives that are currently the focus of attention are: enforcement and support for a move to less intensive management; intra-guild predation by golden eagles; diversionary feeding; and a harrier brood management scheme.
3. We conclude that progress requires continued dialogue between the main stakeholders and a risk analysis based on improved understanding of the costs, acceptability, legality, feasibility and the environmental, economic and social consequences of following alternative approaches.