Thursday, February 11, 2016

Victoria's Green Matters - 11th February 2016

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

There has been serious concern about the future of the hen harrier in England. There have been years of persecution by game keepers who have used illegal poisoned bait to kill these magnificent birds to protect grouse shooting in the interests of landowners.

There were only six nests in England last year, mostly on the Lancashire heather moorlands, with eighteen fledglings. Better news is that there are six hundred breeding pairs in Scotland and fifty in Wales.

A new hen harrier action plan has been put in place to help build up populations of the birds which have been officially recognised as being on the brink of extinction. This plan has brought together traditionally opposing groups comprising landowners, shooters, gamekeepers and conservationists with the aim of solving the conflict over these birds of prey and has taken more than four years to agree.

There will be six methods used to help build up populations including nest protection, CCTV and satellite monitoring, reintroduction of birds to suitable lowland areas and encouraging the birds not to eat game birds by giving them other options. Also, volunteers and police wildlife crime units will be involved in monitoring the populations. These measures have already been trialled and proved to be successful in other areas.

It is difficult to think that we have allowed this beautiful bird to become almost extinct because a small minority of people think that it is right to destroy one species so that another can be reared for sport.

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