Today British Birds publishes a paper on raptor persecution in the Peak District National Park by Tim Melling, Mark Thomas, Mike Price and Staffan Roos. Here is the abstract:
This is a great review of the poor state of raptors in those parts of the PDNP where driven grouse shooting is most widespread – elsewhere in the National Park things are going much better. The maps and graphs illustrate where the areas of heather burning are located and where the raptors are doing well and badly.
The fact that Peregrines and Goshawks have declined in the grouse shooting areas will be familiar news to many readers of this blog, and come as no surprise, but it ought to be a matter of shame to the Moorland Association, the Peak District National Park, Natural England and Defra which is the sponsoring government department for National Parks. Why is wildlife crime allowed to continue whilst these organisations look on dumbly and fail to address the issues? The phrase wilful blindness comes to mind.
And this totally unnacceptable level of wildlife crime is replicated in many of our National Parks. It is good that some are beginning to speak out more strongly on the issue but the Peak District has been mealy mouthed and slow to take any action except to set up the failed talking shop of the Peak District Raptor Forum.
Instead of an ‘experiment’ to see what happens when hundreds of Ravens are killed in the uplands we need an experiment where driven grouse shooting ceases in a National Park for a decade to see what biological impacts that would have. Why not start with the Peak District where the problems are well-known and well-monitored?
The National Trust could have brought us closer to that position but failed to grasp the nettle, instead opting for a continumnce of grouse shooting on their land when they had the power to stop it.
Much respect to the raptor workers who have collected these data over many years! Much ignominy to the decision makers who stand idly by despite the clear evidence of wildlife crime!
And many thanks to British Birds for being the ‘journal of record’ for this type of ornithological analysis and comment. If you aren’t a BB subscriber then yo0u’re missing out. I’ll come back to other good things in this month’s BB later in the week.
The paper ends with two sentences thus: