As I understand it, the non-joint non-plan for ‘managing’ the almost non-existent English breeding Hen Harrier population would have involved fiddling about with one of the nests in Bowland this year (had the landowner requested it).
The two nests were ‘too close’ together despite the rather large gap to the next pair of breeding Hen Harriers in England.
It’s bizarre, although since Defra has not published the non-joint non-plan, despite thousands of us signing the e-petition to ask them to do so (whatever happened to that one?), I am only guessing.
If brood management of the pestilential almost-extinct Hen Harrier were to be one of the last really bad decisions made by Defra ministers then they’d need some help in the logistics of removing Hen Harriers from their nests, rearing them in captivity and then releasing them later. Where might they go?
There might be a queue of gamekeepers (wearing gloves of course) wanting to lend a hand but their expertise surely lies in other brood management activities. Despite my huge respect for them, the GWCT might not consider themselves to be the ideal candidates either. There are always academics who claim to be impartial but might be partial to being paid to do this work, so that’s a possibility. But the ideal partner would be a conservation NGO and the most obvious candidate is the Hawk and Owl Trust under its relatively new chair Philip Merricks.
As a member of the Hawk and Owl Trust I wouldn’t be very keen on hearing that they were involved in the non-joint non-plan to solve the grouse moor managers’ problems with the almost-extinct English Hen Harriers.
They couldn’t even be thinking about it could they? I’ll email them and ask.