Today we should hear news about the status of Hen Harriers in England in the first year of the Defra Hen Harrier recovery project. See here for the only real Hen Harrier recovery plan.
There should be 330+ pairs of Hen Harrier nesting in the English uplands and last year there were 12 pairs (from which five males ‘mysteriously”disappeared’).
If the Defra plan, welcomed by the RSPB, is everything it is cracked up to be then today should be a time for rejoicing and celebration as the heel of the grouse shooter is taken off the throat of the English Hen Harrier population and it is allowed to breathe easily and freely in the sunlit uplands once more.
Well, we’ll see.
The omens are not good.
When a man was filmed taking his model Hen Harrier for a walk on a Peak District National Park grouse moor the Moorland Association couldn’t see anything wrong with this.
When a Goshawk nest on an RSPB nature reserve, failed rather inexplicably on the edge of Peak District moorland the Moorland Association couldn’t bring itself to comment.
When a gamekeeper was given a caution for committing an act that has been criminal for over a century on a grouse moor the Moorland Association was oh so understanding and forgiving of the estate where this happened (which happens to be a member of the Moorland Association).
This is some of the background to the RSPB statement today.
This Hen Harrier is looking to the RSPB for a strong approach to these issues of wildlife crime against protected birds.