RSPB Campaign requesting £600,000 of public money to help save the Hen Harrier!

 To say that I am furious is an understatement; I have today received an e-mail from the RSPB asking me personally for a donation of £25 to help them raise £600,000 to help save the Hen Harrier before 20th December. Where we’re they when we needed 100,000 signatures for our e-petition to get Vicarious Liability discussed in Parliament? NOWHERE!!!!! All of my money goes toward funding my rescues which is hard enough in this economic climate, what happened to a million voices for birds?The RSPB have already received over £330,000 from the lottery toward Hen Harrier conservation and education which is now just a history lesson, you can’t protect what you haven’t got can you? Requesting the public to raise a further £600,000 to save the Hen Harrier when the species throughout the whole of England is now just a single breeding pair, is like shutting the stable door after the horse has already bolted.

The RSPB talk about their track record, what track record may I ask? When it comes to protecting Hen Harriers, Peregrines and the single nesting pair of Eagle Owls on their northern Pennine reserve at Geltsdale all these species were eliminated under their noses, despite having full time professional wardens working there.

In the Goyt Valley, Derbyshire, the RSPB were advised to put a twenty- four hour watch on the single pair of Hen Harriers nesting there two years ago, but claimed they had inadequate funds to do so; result all eggs destroyed in the nest and the female was believed to have been killed. So much for their track record.

In The Forest of Bowland, regarded as the last stronghold in England for breeding Hen Harriers and a core breeding area located on United Utilities Estates, the RSPB had the sole responsibility for monitoring and protecting these iconic raptors with funding provided by United Utilities. RSPB track record, look what has now happened, the last four breeding pairs of Hen Harriers were eliminated this year. Track Record my ass.

The RSPB were also responsible for protecting the single breeding pair of Golden Eagles in the Haweswater valley near Shap in the English Lake District; again total disaster. When it comes to protecting England’s indigenous raptors this work where it counts for decades has been undertaken by unpaid volunteers at their own expensee and NOT by the RSPB.

I don’t feel I need to apologize for this, even for me, long rant but come on RSPB address the underlying problem here, which is the disgraceful persecution of our raptors which you seem unable to control. What is the use of throwing more money away before the core issue of persecution in our uplands has been addresses.

Here endeth my rant but more will surely follow.

Chrissie Harper

16 comments to RSPB Campaign requesting £600,000 of public money to help save the Hen Harrier!

  • Chrissie, I absolutely agree. I don’t know enough about whether the RSPB failed or not to protect breeding raptors (the real blame lies with the landowner and gamekeepers who ordered/did the shooting of course) but throwing more money at ‘protection’ or ‘education’ is demonstrably utterly pointless. Persecution will always happen wherever and whenever grouse shooting is allowed. If the RSPB want any more of my money it will only be to back a campaign to get grouse shooting banned – whether that’s because of destruction of important moorland habitat or because the shooting industry constantly violates laws supposed to protect endangered species.

    More rants please.

  • At long last it appears that many are starting to realize what I have known for decades, that the RSPB are far more interested in MONEY, than birds.
    For far too long, well meaning but ignorant “MUGS” have been financing this society through membership donations, and legacies etc, yet Britain,s most iconic species continue to suffer. Neither money to purchase moorland habitat, nor new laws will save the Hen Harriers or Merlins because we only ever treat the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause.
    Until this changes the persecution and decline will continue.

  • I completely agree with you! They are not the organisation I thought they were, and after 16 years of loyalty my husband and I withdrew our support. They have more credibility than they deserve nowadays, in my view. Many RSPB volunteers and staff on the ground doing a good job, but at head office?

  • nirofo

    What a cheek, how two faced can they get? One side does nothing to help the Harriers the other want’s paying for it. Talk about rubbing your noses in it.

    ABBA made a good record that just about sums up the the RSPB administration, “MONEY MONEY MONEY”, or was that GIME GIME GIME !!! I suppose either version will do.

  • paul williams

    The RSPB sat on the fence leaning towards the landowner when they were asked to back an E-Petition for Vicarious Liability to be made law in England.The RSPB are now asking it’s members and the public to hand over £600,000 (mug money) to protect Hen Harriers. Have they forgot, there are no Hen Harriers to protect. The RSPB have been resident in the Forest of Bowland since 1984, they have cooperated for ten years alongside Natural England on a Hen Harrier Recovery Project costing several hundred thousands of pounds of tax payer’s money; what was achieved, Hen Harrier extinctiion in Bowland, so much for their track record. RSPB, your behaviour to ask for money from the public and your membership is a disgrace, especially as you have missed your chance allowing the horse to bolt.

  • harrier man

    I recieved the plea through the post last week kept the poster but tore up the rest, they have two hopes of helping the hen harrier no hope and bob hope.

    They are also advertising for hen harrier officers for Northumberland and Bowland at present good luck to them.

    Editor’s Comment. If past history is anything to go by, the hen harrier wardens previously appointed to Bowland had never seen a hen harrier before they arrived; it may be they will also leave their post without ever seeing one. The other significan issue, as these individuals will be paid for the work they do, unless the private landowners in Bowland give their approval, these people will be restricted to working only upon the United Utilities estates. The same rules of access to private estates will also apply to those located in Northumberland and anywhere else in northern England.

  • skydancer

    You are right chrissie, until the underlying problem of persecution by estate gamekeepers together with the incompetence of the rspb workers in Bowland is addressed, then things will not change. It is not money that is needed to correct the problems from the RSPB ,they need the courage to confront the land owners about what has obviously been allowed to take place under their very noses for decades. You are also correct on one other important point Chrissie, the rspb’s never had a ‘track record’ for protecting raptors, this work as Admin has already pointed out, has always been undertaken by unpaid licensed field workers. I doubt it anyone from the regional rspb office would know one end of a wild bird of prey from the other, or perhaps more important, when or when not to visit an occupied nest?

    • Terry Pickford

      Removing licenses from experienced field workers who have achieved a proven ‘track record’ when it comes to protecting raptors is hardly the logical way forward to achieve success. The North West Raptor Group has shown time after time that their field work undertaken throughout the last 45 years has resulted in more not less raptors across the uplands of Cumbria and Lancashire.

      • Hi Terry,

        Is there any possibility that in the not too distant future licenses could be returned to these experienced field workers?

        Editor’s Comment, Mike that would be the most logical thing to do. Natural England together with the RSPB have created a licensed monopoly by issuing licenses to a selected few working inside the Forest of Bowland, who themselves may have adversely contributed to the failure of hen harriers nests in the region by choosing to visit occupied territories during critical periods, for example nest building or just as a clutch of eggs was being laid. To reinstate licenses to the NWRG for use in Bowland would result in loss of face for those who were involved in this discriminating initiative. In the mean time the region’s raptors will continue to suffer the consequences of this decision for years into the future.

      • nirofo

        Terry if the RSPB had any sense whatsoever they would use some of the £600,000, (assuming they ever get it) to fund the experienced North West Raptor Group on a full time basis to protect the Raptors on the uplands of Cumbria and Lancashire. If they were prepared to do this they would have no need to send totally inexperienced trainees on a fools errand where the Raptors are likely to pay the price for their stupidity.

        • Terry Pickford

          Nirofo, nice thought, however the powers that controll what does and what does not takes place in Bowland regarding raptors and their conservation have never listened to what the NWRG have had to say in the past and I doubt very much that they will do so in the future. For some reason they have been more concerned with not upsetting the region’s estate owners rather than sorting out persecution. I recall 38 years ago being invited to Sandy to brief senior RSPB officials for the first time about the on going high incidence of raptor persecution taking place throughout the Forest of Bowland. The Society representatives I met at Sandy had simply no idea of the high incidence of persecution taking place there and did all they could to persuade the NWRG from going public about this criminal activity. On leaving the meeting I recall Richard Porter, a senior RSPB investigations officer telling me not to concern myself, the situation in Bowland would be brought under controll within 5 years. If the situation that exists today is not addressed correctly by strict enforcement of wildlife legislation and efficient monitoring by experinced individuals who know what they are doing, the current situation will continue for another 38 years and beyond.

  • nirofo

    Terry, I’m afraid the RSPB approach to Raptor protection on the estates has always been to keep their heads below the parapet, don’t rock the boat and wait until it all blows over. Unfortunately this long term stance has played right into the hands of the Raptor persecutors who have had a virtually free reign to do what they want for many years. They have systematically exterminated any bird of prey that dared to venture anywhere near their beloved grouse moors and nobody has done anything to stop them. I have to disagree with you regarding nobody knew about the high incidence of persecution, certainly in the circles my colleagues and myself were involved with it was made well known; it was the high levels of indiference from those that were in a position to do something about it that were the problem and it still is. As for the current situation continuing for another 38 years and beyond it’s obvious that with the rampant Raptor perecution esculating the way it is, if the RSPB and Natural England/Scottish Natural Heritage don’t get their concerted acts together soon there won’t be any Raptors left in 38 years.

  • thomas carroll

    I am sure the Landowners and their gamekeepers that read these posts are congratulating each other on a job well done.They will be sat snug and smug knowing how well they have stitched up Natural England and the RSPB into thinking how well the biodiversity of our moorlands is doing.

  • nirofo

    I’ve just received another email from RSPB asking for donations toward their £600,000 target, the email also says they have already raised £300,000, very good, lets hope they put it to the use it’s supposed to be intended for!!!

    It’s amazing how quickly the RSPB membership have responded when they were asked for help to protect our Hen Harriers, they would probably have responded just as well if they’d been asked to back the E-Petition for Vicarious Liability in England and the reasons they needed to do this.

    Editor’s Comment, raising money seems to be a more important preoccupation for the RSPB rather than investing their energy where it could do the most good savinghen harriers in the field before they become extinct as in this case. We must not forget the RSPB have already been given an additional £332,000 of lottery money for hen harrier related educational projects. Now that there are no harriers left to protect in England all funding raised from the public should be used to STOP persecution where it counts. Unless this single issue is addressed once and for all, any money spent protecting hen harrier at the nest will be a waste of time as any fledged young will disappear like the hundreds of harriers raised in the last twenty years.

  • paul williams

    Let us not be too harsh towards the RSPB, some of the money raised is going to fund a project to save the Great Auk,Dodo and the Elephant Bird….good luck.

    • nirofo

      Paul, they seem like worthwhile projects, they should fit in well with the RSPB extinct English Hen Harrier project.