Ahead of this weekend of Hen Harrier rallies let’s just recap some Hen Harrier facts:
- the latest science says there should be 300+ pairs of Hen Harrier nesting in England – this year there were 3 pairs
- the latest science says there should be c2600 pairs of Hen Harrier nesting in the UK – in the last survey (2010) there were <650 pairs
- the latest science says there should be c500 pairs of Hen Harrier nesting on grouse moors in the UK – in recent years there have been fewer than 20 pairs
- the lack of Hen Harriers is due almost entirely to systematic, illegal and unrelenting persecution by grouse shooting interests – grouse moors are sinks for the Hen Harrier population (producing few young and many deaths)
- the Forest of Bowland SPA was partly designated because it was the stronghold for Hen Harriers nesting in England and has often held double figures of pairs raising 10-120 chicks – this year there were none
- the Yorkshire Dales NP should be a stronghold of nesting Hen Harriers – none nest there, but quite a few die there, including Bowland Betty, and this year a gamekeeper was photographed setting illegal poletraps on the Mossdale Estate near Hawes and let off with a police caution.
Defra and Natural England are standing by and letting all this happen – they don’t care and they don’t have a clue. They certainly don’t have a plan to save the hen Harrier in England. But we do – ban driven grouse shooting and, for sure, the Hen Harrier will return, and there are lots of other public benefits too. Over 72,500 people are calling for a debate in parliament and you can add your voice here.