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Category Archives: Hawk and Owl Trust Policy

The Hawk and Owl Trust Position in the Hen Harrier Debate

In response to various blog posts and resulting comments on the Mark Avery Blog site

Philip Merricks, Chairman Hawk and Owl Trust
20 Jan 2015

‘You will be aware that the RSPB formally announced last year that, although they supported a Hen Harrier brood management scheme in principle, they would not support it in practice until forty pairs of Hen Harriers had become established on the moors of Northern England.

This was a good idea as it would have required grouse moor managers to demonstrate that they had stopped persecuting Hen Harriers. But, to get to forty pairs would have taken a long time and as the Hen Harrier is a colonial nesting species, this would have meant that it is likely that in time significant numbers of HHs would have nested on just a few moors and most other moors would have no nests. Which might not have been helpful in getting HHs widely established. And as one MP unhelpfully said at a meeting in the House of Commons, that postponing a brood management scheme trial until forty pairs were established, was similar to a doctor saying to his patient that he wasn’t going to give him any medicine until he was well on the road to recovery.

Hence, the Hawk and Owl Trust Board of Trustees thought long and hard about how real and realistic pressure could be put on grouse moor managers and their gamekeepers to immediately stop persecuting Hen Harriers. The Trustees came up with two immoveable conditions that would need to be agreed to before the Trust would talk to Defra:

1) All Hen Harriers fledged within a brood management scheme trial would be satellite tagged so that their movements could be tracked. And the knowledge that they were tagged (and the fear that other HHs might be) would prevent any gamekeepers from shooting them in the sky.

2) Should any Moorland Association, Game & Wildlife Trust, or National Gamekeepers Organisation member be proved to have illegally interfered with a Hen Harrier nest or to have persecuted a Hen Harrier on their grouse moors, the Hawk & Owl Trust would pull out its expertise from the brood management scheme trial.

It was well understood, appreciated and accepted by Defra and others that these two conditions meant that it would then become in the interests of grouse moor managers to ensure that Hen Harrier persecution would cease – ie that these two conditions would mean that there would be an immediate overriding reason for grouse moor interests to protect Hen Harriers.’

 

Trust Condemns Hen Harrier Death

Tests Prove Young Female in Yorkshire was Shot Hawk and Owl Trust vice president David Cobham has condemned the illegal shooting of a young female hen harrier in the Yorkshire Dales. The bird was part of a scientific study. Detailed laboratory tests have just confirmed that one of the endangered and rapidly dwindling population of…Continue Reading

Trust Joins Successful Buzzard Persecution Protest

Conservation Bodies Attack Proposal 24 May 2012 | The Hawk and Owl Trust has joined other conservation bodies in protesting against government proposals to permit wild buzzards to be caged and nests destroyed to protect young pheasants. Nigel Middleton, Hawk and Owl Trust Conservation Officer for the Eastern Region, said: “We are totally against persecution…Continue Reading

Sign e-petition to Protect Birds of Prey

Tighten law against employers connected to persecution An independent e-petition has been posted on the UK government website calling for Vicarious Liability for raptor persecution in England. This would mean that landowners/employers who encourage, allow or turn a blind eye to bird of prey persecution by their staff can themselves be prosecuted. This measure is…Continue Reading

Forestry and Birds of Prey

Position statement to the Forestry Panel The Hawk and Owl Trust is Britain’s only national charity working solely to conserve wild birds of prey and their habitats – through creative conservation, practical research and imaginative education. This position statement is the policy of the Hawk and Owl Trust on the future of the National Forest…Continue Reading