It is 10 years ago that three observers (one a minor) were watching Hen Harriers coming in to roost at Dersingham Bog NNR when the birds fell out of air and shots were heard. I’ve always believed that those birds were shot and that it wasn’t a made-up account. Indeed, I have also thought the worse of those who tried to denigrate the observers by suggesting that it was inconceivable that any such thing happened.
But I’ve never thought I’ve known who was responsible, nor have I ever claimed that I did know.
Assuming that the incident did occur, then there are only three people who probably do know what happened: Prince Harry, his friend William van Cutsem and David Clarke the gamekeeper who was with them near to where the incident happened on that late afternoon. Unless one of them makes a public statement on the matter then it will always remain in the ‘unsolved crime’ category as far as I am concerned.
These days, as can be seen above, Prince Harry seems to be putting some of his efforts into a range of good causes including wildlife ones. Indeed, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry has wildlife conservation, particularly illegal wildlife trade as an area that it supports. That’s good to see although, as said before, there seems to be quite a lot of wildlife crime in the neighbourhood of various royal properties (Balmoral and Sandringham) not just abroad.
At the time of the Dersingham Bog incident Prince Harry was 23 years old – just a kid in many ways. Ten years later he seems, as far as one can tell from what emerges in the media, to have grown up a lot but still to have an interesting degree of independence and edginess that would probably make him an interesting person with whom to share an evening.
It would be very good to see the royal princes speak out against wildlife crime in this country but I doubt they ever will.
Meanwhile, in these days even when someone is allegedly filmed allegedly shooting an alleged Hen Harrier, as below, we don’t see a court case.
But we can still highlight the need to be tough on wildlife crime by being tough on the causes of wildlife crime – please sign Gavin Gamble’s e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.