FROM BAD TO WORSE: THE FOREST OF BOWLAND

This is our pictorial story detailing the plight of 18 regional pairs of nesting Peregrine Falcons, and how this threatened species of raptor has been persecuted to extinction to protect red grouse stocks throughout this moorland region of West Lancashire.

Bowland-Peregrines-in-nest

Bowland Peregrine nest pre. 2010, containing 3 unfledged chicks. Nest now abandoned along with 17 additional territories – Watch our Video.

In 2010 Natural England, the UK Government’s Wildlife Advisor withheld licenses which had previously been issued by Natural England to Terry’s raptor protection group during the last 35 years. These licenses had allowed experienced members of the North West Raptor Group to monitor and protect peregrine nests throughout the Forest of Bowland during this long period.

The group had regularly posted details of the widespread criminal persecution of protected raptors throughout The Forest of Bowland on social media. This incriminating detail proved a huge embarrassment to shooting estates in the region.

However, the NWRG licenses were then removed by Natural England, preventing raptor nests within Bowland from being monitored and protected by the group, without breaching UK wildlife legislation.

Peregrine’s across Bowland began to disappear from unprotected territories following a campaign of destruction of nest sites and the killing of adult falcons to protect game stocks.

Data collated by the NWRG has highlighted the situation which many, particularly within the shooting fraternity, would prefer to keep secret.

The images show a number of the now abandoned territories that Terry and the rest of the NWRG had protected throughout the last 3 decades.

Although in 2016 there were two nesting attempts made by peregrines, both failed. We, as an experienced raptor monitoring and protection group find this extremely upsetting and without the support of Natural England and the return of our license, the destruction of nesting sites and relentless killing of these protected raptors will continue.

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4 comments to FROM BAD TO WORSE: THE FOREST OF BOWLAND

  • Peter Woodruff

    The video is truly brilliant.

    You have to be a tough nut not to be affected by what you see in the film about the raw facts behind this vile and organised organisation geared to wildlife destruction on a monumental scale. You have to give it to them, well organised in shadows too dense to penetrate it seems, and with the denial of licenses even more impenetrable….Unnatural England.

    Editor’s comment. Peter thank you so much for you comment, words do not describe the truly appalling situation that has been allowed to take place in the Forest of Bowland. Last summer you were lucky if you saw a peregrine, let alone an occupied nest.

  • Mali Halls

    Being a member of Sussex Peregrine Study group, and having monitored local nests for over 10 years, I find it really disgusting. This awful behaviour should never be allowed to take place in this day and age, and it should cease right now. The organization that goes under the banner of Natural England are letting this happen, and they should feel totally ashamed of themselves.

  • adam

    How should we contact Natural England about this, demanding that they reinstate the licences to protect Bowland’s raptors? Thankyou.

    Editor’s Comment. Hi Adam, we suggest anyone who would like to see Natural England reinstate licenses they had previously issued to members of the North West Raptor Group for use in the Forest of Bowland, write direct to Natural England’s licensing office at their Peterborough HQ. The full postal address can be found on Google. Good luck with that one.

  • Kevin Morris

    This is disgraceful and shameful conduct by a Government Agency. What reasons did they give, if any, for such a revocation? Is it possible to make public any of the official communications from Natural England. Perhaps a Freedom of Information request could be made, in order to follow the decision-making process in this case.
    Kevin

    Editor’s Comment. Hi Kevin, they provided several reasons for the revocation.

    1) Other licensed workers were now undertaking the work on the private estates. This is very interesting because members of the North West Raptor Group had been undertaking this licensed activity from 1974 until 2010, at which point Natural England licensed several other less experienced individuals.

    2) If you your licence was reinstated this would result in duplication of nest visits.

    3) If your licence was reinstated your visits to nests would result in unnecessary disturbance.

    In putting forward these curious reasons, it seems everyone including Natural England are overlooking a very significant point – there are no longer any active peregrine nests remaining in Bowland to disturb of duplicate. In addition those individuals licensed to carry on with the work previously undertaken by the NWRG did not do a very good job protecting territories did they.

    Certainly had the NWRG not continued to monitor the persecution of peregrine nests (without licenses) in Bowland from 2010, no one would have been told about the tragedy which took place after their licenses were withheld. These losses would most certainly have been pushed under the carpet to protect the interests of the estates and their gamekeepers. This is the true scandal of this situation which very few really appreciates.

    Editor’s Comment. We suggest anyone who would like to see Natural England reinstate licenses they had previously issued to members of the North West Raptor Group for use in the Forest of Bowland, write direct to Natural England’s licensing office at their Peterborough HQ. The full postal address can be found on Google. Good luck with that one.

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