Forestry England manages 1500 forests for us in England covering 250,000 ha of land. that’s a lot of forest, managed for timber, access, recreation and wildlife.
So, I wondered how much Jay-killing goes on by Forestry England under the terms of the general licences (particularly as DEFRA has failed to remove Jay from the English general licence for nature conservation purposes). So, I asked them;
- Does Forestry England cull Jays under the provisions of the general licences on its land?
- Does Forestry England permit the culling of Jays by others on its land?
We can issue licences for game bird and rough shooting, however the standard licence does not include Jays. Sample information from 4 of our 6 Districts and 83 licences in 19/20 showed 9 licences included Jays. The information also showed 4 Jays had been shot.
- Does Forestry England regard the Jay as a species of unwaged forestry-planting volunteer as it carries acorns around and buries them at this time of year?
As ever in nature, they may be seen to be doing good, or harm, depending on your perspective. It might be a nice way to think about Jays, what they do certainly increases genetic diversity locally, but remember too they may eat nestlings, including species of conservation concern such as those listed. Currently we have no evidence to show we’re getting the balance wrong, and do not see a need to either additionally conserve or manage them ourselves, for conservation or to protect forests, unlike deer.
And Forestry England can tell you more about the Jay-killing that does go on than DEFRA or Natural England can tell you about the rest of the country.
So I still have not had an example of any nature conservation organisation which kills Jays and now we learn that a major statutory land owner and manager doesn’t kill them either.
Why is DEFRA allowing this misjudged Jay killing to continue?
We know the answer – because BASC and the Countryside Alliance want to kill Jays (although they fail to come up with any justification for it whatsoever) and DEFRA is too frit to stand up to them. George Eustice had better get his evidence-based policy on Jay killing more firmly based on evidence![registration_form]