As well as Natural England, the Hawk and Owl Trust also has questions to answer over the non-publication of the details of Rowan’s death – Rowan was shot!
Why would a wildlife charity, indeed, a raptor charity, which had funded the tagging of a young Hen Harrier, want the details of his death to be kept secret or, at best, made strangely uncertain? How did Hen Harrier conservation benefit from obfuscation over what was revealed at Rowan’s autopsy?
We can just chalk this recent event down to another peculiar position for the Hawk and Owl Trust to have adopted since Philip Merricks became its Chairman. And we know, thanks to the excellent RPUK blog, that Merricks was keen to discuss this matter with NE before the press release, the not completely clear press release (the ‘likely to have been shot’ press release), was issued.
We’ll just add it to the list of strange behaviours: not wanting to appear on a panel at the Bird Fair to discuss driven grouse shooting, the moving speech made by Mr Merricks at the Sheffield conference, the eco-zealots article in the Telegraph and the support for brood meddling.
I’d be surprised if we get any answers from the Hawk and Owl Trust but they would be very welcome to a Guest Blog here to explain their position better than they have so far (see here).
PPS I notice that @Hawkandowluk has blocked me on Twitter.