In two months time, on Monday 12 August, the grouse shooting season will open. This is a land use whose days are numbered.
Intensive grouse shooting is underpinned by wildlife crime and that wildlife crime is widespread. Remember the long-term study of Peregrines across the north of England which shows that their numbers and nesting success are lower on grouse moors than on areas not managed for grouse shooting? And this year we finally had the analysis of the Natural England satellite-tagging study of Hen Harriers which showed that a Hen Harrier’s risk of death was ten times higher in grouse moor areas than elsewhere. A pointless hobby of killing birds for fun, which needs protected wildlife removed illegally from where it operates, cannot survive for much longer.
And yet this Conservative adminstration sits still and does nothing (except enthusiastically promotes brood-meddling which is opposed by conservationists) and continues to work hard for a reintroduction of Hen Harriers in southern England (which is opposed by conservationists, both home and abroad (Natural England are spending another year struggling to source any birds from abroad) instead of tackling the issue. In fact Therese Coffey, the minister responsible for saving our biodiversity, has barely mentioned or acknowledged that Hen Harrier persecution is a problem that she should solve.
The day before the grouse shooting season opens there is a Hen Harrier Day rally at Carsington Water in Derbyshire, organised by Wild Justice.