Raptors on the verge of Catastrophe in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire.

The RSPB are to be congratulated for funding a £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful conviction of those criminals responsible for the killing of the 3 male hen harriers which disappeared from moorland owned by United Utilities Plc in the Forest of Bowland. We trust this offer will also extend to information regarding the 2 satellite tagged hen harrier chicks which disappeared last season after fledging from two nests on the United Utilities estates in Bowland, presumed to have been shot?

Hen Harrier

Destroyed Peregrine nesting ledge Claughton (1 of 1) One of 5 peregrine nesting sites in the Forest of Bowland destroyed to prevent re-occupation.

 

In our view it is very doubtful that this financial incentive will be sufficient inducement to persuade anyone to come forward with information from the shooting fraternity. The Forest of Bowland is a very close knit community; although there will be individuals out there who know the identities of those who perpetrated these terrible crimes, the reward currently on offer would not be sufficient to entice anyone to speak out, especially when it may involve identifying work colleagues and friends. It should be remembered that after the poisoning of the 20 plus birds of prey in Scotland last year, including many red kites and buzzards, even though a reward of £30,000 was offered, no one has so far been tempted to claim the reward.

Any worthwhile financial carrot must take into consideration a few important facts if the aim is to induce someone brave enough from the shooting community to point the accusing finger. Any person who may be tempted to come forward with incriminating information leading to a conviction would be a marked individual. He or she would almost certainly lose their job, having said that the person would have a case for wrongful dismissal depending how their dismissal was handled by their employer. There is also a possibility if a gamekeeper  speaks out, that person would never get employment keepering anywhere in the country again. The individual and family would almost certainly have to up sticks and move lock stock and barrel to another part of the country. This is why any reward to have any chance of success must be substantial.

These are just a few reasons why Raptor Politics have launching a campaign asking United Utilities Plc, to consider as the landowner responsible. Offering a substantial reward of £100,000 for information leading to the successful conviction of anyone associated with the killing of the 2 satellite tagged hen harriers that disappeared in September 2014, and the 3 male hen harriers that vanished in April/May this season would be the right thing for this company to do.

United Utilities should also consider very carefully the reasons for the abandonment of virtually all historic peregrine territories throughout their Bowland estate, possibly as many as 7 territories so far. These losses occurring between 2010 and 2015. This season when the North West Raptor Group discovered the failures of two peregrine eyries this spring which had been occupied on the UU estate in April, wardens working on behalf of the company openly lied claiming both nests were still viable when they were not. There is now little doubt in our mind that the position regarding breeding raptors on the United Utilities estates has gone from bad to catastrophic. We are also advised by one voluntary warden working on the UU estate who wishes to remain anonymous, that Chrissie Harper was correct, the single pair of eagle owls that had attempted to breed on the UU estate this spring also disappeared.

Terry Pickford ringing Brennand Waterfall 2006 (1 of 1)

One of 7 occupied and productive peregrine eyries located on the United Utilities estates in Bowland prior to 2009, this year each of the 7 sites have been found abandoned.  Is this what  Gaynor Kenyon, Corporate Affairs Director, means when she said getting the best possible protection?

Urgent Appeal to the United Utilities Management.

We are asking all our followers not only re-tweet this story and add the detail on to their Facebook page, but also to contact The Chief Executive, Mr Steve Mogford, at United Utilities requesting him to recommend the company approve this reward to bring those criminal responsible for the losses on the estate in Bowland to justice. The reward by the way if approved, would be tax deductible? You can contact Mr Mogford by using anyone of the methods listed below.

Below we have attached a reply sent by the Company this week  to one of our followers, hardly reassuring, and it makes us wonder if the Chief Executive even knows of the extent of these raptor disappearances? United Utilities have a statutory duty to protect and care for all protected fauna and flora on the estates they manage, clearly raptors on their water catchments in the Forest of Bowland are not receiving the best possible protection.

LETTER BEGINS

Dear xxxxxxxxx

I am responding on Steve Mogford’s behalf to the email you sent regarding hen harriers at Bowland.

I would like to reassure you that we are very concerned about the disappearance of hen harriers from United Utilities’ Bowland estate and we are supporting the police and the RSPB in their investigations to find out what has happened.

This is an ecologically important estate and, recognising that our own area of expertise is  water and land management, not conservation,  for many years we have funded a partnership with the RSPB so that hen harriers and other rare species get the best possible protection. This partnership has resulted in Bowland becoming a stronghold for the hen harrier and this latest setback has saddened all of our team as well as our partners.

We share your concerns, but it is important that we deal with this issue in the correct way, by allowing the RSPB, as experts, to do what it believes needs to be done, and by responding to any requests it makes for our help. RSPB has the expertise to lead this investigation, and any decision about any reward is a matter for it to consider as part of its overall actions in this very upsetting incident.

Kind regards

Gaynor Kenyon

Gaynor Kenyon

Corporate Affairs Director

United Utilities

T:   01925 237025 (internal 37025)

M: 07753 622282 (mobex 55063)

unitedutilities.com

 

Steve Mogford

Email steve.mogford@uuplc.co.uk
Telephone 01925 237000
Switchboard 01925 237000
Website http://www.unitedutilities.com
Social Media T@unitedutilities 
Postal Address Haweswater House Lingley Mere Business Park, Lingley Green Avenue Great Sankey, Warrington, WA5 3LP

 

7 comments to Raptors on the verge of Catastrophe in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire.

  • Steve Albaya (@Steveredwolf)

    Dear Sir,
    Extremely rare raptors are ILLEGALLY being destroyed on UU land in the Forest of Bowland-I like many many others find this abhorrent-You:as the man in charge need to:

    A) wake up to the realities of what is happening -Birds of prey are being systematically and illegally wiped out on your watch.

    B) You need to ensure that this ILLEGAL activity ends now and that the raptors are given the protection they are legally entitled to on UU land and see that this is enforced and anyone who is persecuting these birds faces the full wrath of the law.

    C) you may also wish to review the activities of game keepers, shooting interests and others who may wrongly believe that raptors affect the grouse shooting hobby so much land is used for.

    I would urge you to act on the recommendations Made by Raptor Politics

    yours sincerely
    J S Albaya

  • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

    I would like to point out that the title of this article is somewhat misleading. Generally speaking, the Merlin and Kestrel are the only two raptor species located throughout the Forest of Bowland which curiously are not disappearing.
    I find this very odd, why I ask myself, should all the other species like Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Goshawk, Short-eared owl and Eagle Owl continue to disappear from moorland in the Forest of Bowland? Anyone out there got any ideas?

    • nirofo

      Hey Terry, are you actually saying you don’t know what is happening to all the Hen Harriers, Peregrines, Goshawks, Short-eared owls and Eagle Owls that continue to disappear from moorland in the Forest of Bowland. I thought it was well known that the shooting interests in that area are getting their gamekeepers to kill them all. They go out at will (with no fear of repercussions), to kill all those birds you mention every time they show their faces on the estate.

      So far no one has lifted a finger to stop them, the RSPB are too far up their own arses to make a difference, the police don’t give a damn (too busy forelock tugging), and United Utilities won’t do anything to upset the shooting fraternity in case they lose clients.

      So, what fate awaits any further attempted breeding by our so-called protected Raptors, you guessed it, more of the same, DEATH. IT’S A BLOODY DISGRACE !!!

      • Terry Pickford, North West Raptor Protection Group

        I would like people all over the world to read how we in Britain allow criminals to kill our raptors, and in the main get away with it.

        I know what is happening to so called protected raptors in the Forest of Bowland and so does the RSPB and everyone else associated with the conservation of these birds. The problem is no one but the North West Raptor Group has had the courage to speak out about their demise resulting from systematic persecution. The situation is so transparent its heart breaking to have to sit back and watch these losses continue year after year. There is no other explanation for the loss of 17 Bowland peregrine territories since 2010, or the disappearance of the 5 hen harriers in Bowland in just 4 years. The RSPB also know what has happened to all the 5 missing hen harriers; indeed they may suspect or even know who is responsible for this unacceptable outrage. I also know what happened to the 39 Bowland hen harrier nests in the early 1980; members of the North West Raptor Group discovered countless destroyed hen harrier nests throughout the Forest of Bowland containing smashed eggs, dead hen harrier chicks with their heads cut off left left in their nests by the perpetrators. On one memorable black day in the mid 1980’s I visited two hen harrier nests in Bowland positioned just 400 metres apart. Each containing 3 mutilated chicks which had been trodden underfoot with a heavy boot until their flesh had been pulverised; there are truly some sick bastards around in this remote region of west Lancashire. The number of adult hen harriers which simply disappeared presumed shot in those early days must have been in the 100’s. I recall an interview which the BBC carried out with Derek Ratcliffe regarding the total total collapse of the hen harrier population in the 1980’s in Bowland. The film was titled The Silence of the Hills. When the producer Alistair McDonald asked Dr Ratcliffe what he thought had caused the disappearance of so many Hen harriers, he replied there was only one answer he could think of, persecution.

        I really think the RSPB have got a problem of their own making, they do not want to upset the shooting estate owners for some curious reason, choosing to keep silent about all the raptor losses taking place in Bowland. I often wonder who is pulling the political strings in the Forest of Bowland. In 1974 I was invited by Richard Porter head of the RSPB’s species protection to visit Sandy and brief him all about the illegal persecution of both peregrine and hen harrier taking place throughout Bowland. I thought I did a good job and I could tell he was taking an interest. However, when I was about the get into my car to drive home in the Sandy car park, Richard told me I should not worry too much as the RSPB would have the problem of persecution in Bowland resolved in 5 years. As things turned out historically, Richard’s claim turned out to have been one of the most optimistic statement I have every had the misfortune to listen too. Here we are forty one years on and the position relating to the persecution of so called ‘protected birds of prey’ throughout this moorland region is now much worst than it was all those decades ago.I truly believe if there are not fundamental changes in enforcement and detection in Bowland in the very near future the possibility exists that we will lose the hen harrier completely and possibly most of the peregrines as well.

        I would like to end on an optimistic note, but sadly that is not possible. The loss of the two satellite tagged hen harriers in Bowland last September which I believe were shot and their tags destroyed,together with the curious disappearance of all 3 male hen harriers this spring has laid out the gauntlet of more of the same to come I am sorry to say. There is simply no mechanism to prevent these criminal activities happening time after time; removing licenses from experienced individuals who had made a difference up until 2010 simply plays into the hands of the persecutors making it that much easier to get away with the crimes they commit. I see little advantage in the short term of producing more hen harrier chicks in Bowland, or upon any red grouse moor for that matter in northern England, if the end result only produces missing hen harriers.

        I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Lancashire Constabulary for their continued support, in particular Lorraine Ellwood, Lancashire Crime Officer and PC Carl Chew who have both consistently provided their help, advice and support for the work I have been involved with here in the Forest of Bowland promoting the conservation of raptors. Thank you to both of you, I trust the advice I have passed on to you both will assist the objectives that the police are trying to achieve under very difficult circumstances. Finally, a big thank you to Raptor Politics for publishing my personal views.

  • Steve Albaya (@Steveredwolf)

    This is the reply i received from United Utilities. Same letter the company has sent to everyone.

    Dear Steve

    I am responding on Steve Mogford’s behalf to the email you sent regarding hen harriers at Bowland.

    I would like to reassure you that we are very concerned about the disappearance of hen harriers from United Utilities’ Bowland estate and we are supporting the police and the RSPB in their investigations to find out what has happened.

    This is an ecologically important estate and, recognising that our own area of expertise is water and land management, not conservation, for many years we have funded a partnership with the RSPB so that hen harriers and other rare species get the best possible protection. This partnership has resulted in Bowland becoming a stronghold for the hen harrier and this latest setback has saddened all of our team as well as our partners.

    We share your concerns, but it is important that we deal with this issue in the correct way, by allowing the RSPB, as experts, to do what it believes needs to be done, and by responding to any requests it makes for our help. RSPB has the expertise to lead this investigation into what is a very upsetting incident.

    Kind regards

    Gaynor

  • Mr Raptor

    Its the first i’ve heard of this, and living close to the forest of Bowland I’ve sometimes heard shooting coming from across fields whilst on walks/in the garden. Next time ill investigate such activities and hopefully get a picture of the people doing this if it seems like thats what their shooting

  • i think it is all about money peregrines are breeding in most cities they are save from danger shooting brings big money when peregrines breed on a building their young breed on buildings all they need is a man made nest box a few young end up in the streets. they are soon put back