Six shooting organisations join together to force the implementation of a plan for hen harrier recovery in England.

Hen Harrier

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, CLA, Countryside Alliance, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation and the Moorland Association are attempting to persuade DEFRA to implement draft proposals for a hen harrier recovery plan without the consensual agreement of the RSPB or any additional conservation organisations with an interest.

Last year, there were just four hen harrier breeding attempts, all on or adjacent to moorland managed for red grouse, with 16 chicks fledged. And, this year, nesting attempts saw a 300 percent increase to 12 nests, but only six of these were successful, with 18 chicks surviving.

It is now being claimed by game shooting organisations that moor managers played a significant role in this year’s hen harrier success by protecting nests, but the organisations say more needs to be done. Austwick’s Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “All of the organisations welcome the spotlight on harriers and we condemn wildlife crime. Everyone needs to keep building on this year’s improvement to springboard a wider recovery.”

“Severely cold and wet weather has been awful for all wildlife trying to breed on the moors this year leading to a lack of prey. Early in the season, 5 male harriers did not return to nests causing females to abandon eggs in search of food. Nesting attempts later in spring did better, but one nest of chicks was eaten by stoats whilst another brood was found dead at the nest just days after being fitted with satellite tags. “Six nesting attempts, of which only one was successful, were recorded on moorland in the Forest of Bowland and in the northern Pennines at Geltsdale.

There is a draft six-point, Defra-led Joint Recovery Plan which each of the shooting organisations above wish to see published and implemented. This would offer a mechanism to ‘guarantee chick safety’ and spread the nests to avoid a colony forming in one location. Not only would this reduce the impact on ground nesting birds on which they prey, especially red grouse, but also protect against local dangers, like poor weather and predation.

If implemented claims Amanda Anderson, the plan would see the growth of a sustainable population of hen harriers across their former English range, without jeopardising driven grouse shooting or the environmental, social and economic benefits it delivers.

The RSPB together with other conservation organisations are totally opposed to a proposal contained within the plan relating to brood management. Once the killing of hen harriers stops and a reasonable number of hen harrier are allowed to return to England’s uplands then brood management could be on the table for discussion, but not until.

You can find out more about the hen harrier recovery plan HERE.

7 comments to Six shooting organisations join together to force the implementation of a plan for hen harrier recovery in England.

  • Julie Wright

    They are running scared, the publicity is gaining momentum and the public is finding out what really happens to our wildlife. Another Buzzard shot, how many other birds are killed and not found. They should be looking at their members with fire arms & banned poisons, unless they get rid of these criminals it’s never going to stop They still believe BOP are vermin, simple answerBan Driven Grouse Shooting.

  • nirofo

    Two faced hypocrites, they’ll stop at nothing to lay a smoke screen over the real raptor persecution problem in the UK. These people and DEFRA know only too well that the way to increase the number of Hen Harriers on grouse moorland is to stop the gamekeepers killing them and destroying their nesting habitat. The ridiculous idea of brood management is a non starter and should not even be considered under any circumstances! Any form of management would be totally unnecessary if the severe persecution and subsequent demise of Hen Harriers by grouse shooting interests is removed in the first place. Stop the raptor persecution and the birds will increase naturally as has already been proved without a shadow of a doubt on Langholme and elsewhere !!!

  • Circus maxima

    “a colony forming in one location?” Are they a colonial species? I think they actually mean “a density beyond which our keeper will be uncontrollable”. They are aff their heids.

    Ban driven grouse…save the harriers, save the keepers from a life of crime and save the nation a fortune.

  • Brian Leecy

    I had to give this a double take ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE !! THE BIGGEST LOAD OF TOSH I’ve ever heard in my life !! Dr Mark Averys Petition ONWARDS AND UPWARDS ,LET’S GET THIS BAN ENFORCED !!

  • Skydancer

    Talk about propaganda, North Korea would do well to beat this lot. Amanda Anderson does not say why the 5 male Harriers did not return to their nests, perhaps in reality she wants to disregard the reality of what happened? Maybe they disappeared to the same place as Sky and Hope which she also conveniently did not mention; cold weather and stoats are also to blame, and what are the environmental, social and economic benefits of grouse shooting? Amanda Anderson talks as if the country would collapse without grouse shooting and her gamekeeping pals. Would Amanda Anderson like to explain the reason for the conspicuous absence of the hen harrier and peregrine falcon from moorland in England where red grouse are shot?

  • Albert Ross

    I agree. They are getting desperate in their efforts to continue denying what is really happening on the moors. Let’s get real and stop the illegal persecution of those harriers that are left before anybody starts experimenting with so called ‘brood management!’
    Brood management is practiced already by Gamekeepers and others with their artificial rearing of game birds, trout restocking etc.,
    Such management techniques are no doubt necessary where stocks are artificially and deliberately depleted by shooting and fishing. Raptors can manage quite well when they are not subject to the same artificial depletion.
    STOP, and PUNISH, the illegal killings and let naturally bred birds breed naturally as they always have done.

  • Kevin moore

    Can anyone please tell me why on earth these organisations should be allowed to even propose this , “shooting organisations wanting to dictate the amount and whereabouts of Hen Harriers ” you could not make it up , these people because of their friends in high places have far too much power over our wildlife and despite what they try to make us believe they are only interested in grouse and pheasants.