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More shot pheasants dumped in North York Moors National Park

A couple of days ago we blogged about an article in the Gazette & Herald that showed sackfuls of shot pheasants that had been dumped in woodland in the North York Moors National Park (see here). Here are some of the photographs the newspaper didn’t publish, presumably as they’re too grim. Thanks to the blog […]
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Masked gunmen at goshawk nest in Moy Forest

The following article was published today in the Press & Journal: For regular blog readers, this is a story we ran in November 2017 (here) when we’d found out through an FoI that a masked gunman and an associate had been caught on camera near a raptor nest at an undisclosed public forest in Scotland. […]
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Teenage conservationists have pro-shooting MPs running scared

In November 2017, a small group of conservationists was invited to visit 10 Downing Street for a conversation about their environmental concerns with Sir John Randall, Theresa May’s recently appointed special advisor on the environment. There’s nothing unusual about that. Conservationists routinely meet with advisors, MPs and Ministers to discuss such issues. But this was […]
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Significant spread of disease on intensively-managed driven grouse moors

Two new peer-reviewed papers from the GWCT confirm the significant spread of a disease in red grouse on intensively managed driven grouse moors, transmitted through the unregulated use of communal medicated grit trays. The disease, respiratory cryptosporidiosis (also known as ‘Bulgy Eye’) has been, until recently, almost entirely associated with captive poultry flocks that have […]
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Hundreds of shot pheasants dumped in sacks in North York Moors National Park

An article in yesterday’s Gazette & Herald reports how hundreds of shot pheasants have been dumped in sacks near Helmsley, in the North York Moors National Park. The article (here) says a local rambler first found four sacks of dead gamebirds in Hawnby Road on 26 November 2017. The rambler returned to the site last […]
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Kestrel found with shotgun injuries in Malton, North Yorkshire

Yet another illegally persecuted raptor in North Yorkshire, the raptor-killing capital of the UK. This kestrel was picked up on Christmas Day with shotgun injuries to its wing. The bird was found close to Amotherby crossroads on Amotherby Lane, Malton, North Yorkshire. An x-ray by Mark Naguib of Battle Flatts Veterinary Clinic revealed the extent […]
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‘Closer cooperation to protect hen harriers’ – what does that mean, exactly?

Further to a recent article published in The National where Hen Harrier Species Champion Mairi Gougeon MSP calls for ‘closer cooperation’ between conservationists and the game shooting industry ‘to protect hen harriers’ (see here), this deserves more comment. We’ve given this some thought over the Xmas break and frankly, it’s a bloody affront to imply […]
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MSP urges closer cooperation to protect hen harriers – a futile request while illegal raptor killing continues

Following the recent news that yet another hen harrier has been found dead in suspicious circumstances (here), Hen Harrier Species Champion Mairi Gougeon MSP has taken the opportunity to call for conservationists to work in closer cooperation with the game shooting industry. Here’s an article in yesterday’s edition of The National: MSP MAIRI GOUGEON URGES […]
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RSPB’s perspective on DEFRA’s useless raptor persecution maps

Last week we blogged about the publication of DEFRA’s latest raptor persecution maps (2011-2015), as developed by the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG). We were highly critical of the maps (here) because we considered them to be inaccurate and out of date, difficult to navigate, and we argued that they would not, as DEFRA […]
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Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Kathy’ found dead in suspicious circumstances

Press release from Police Scotland, 20 December 2017: Police Scotland and RSPB Scotland are issuing a joint appeal for information after a young hen harrier was discovered dead with unexplained injuries on an estate near Dunoon. “Kathy”, a female bird, was satellite tagged as a chick on the Cowal Peninsula in August this year (2017) as […]
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Yorkshire Dales ‘could have too many hen harriers before long’

Clive Aslet is a former Editor of Country Life magazine who boasts of being ‘an acknowledged leading authority on Britain and its way of life‘, whatever that means. One thing’s for sure, Mr Aslet is no leading authority on the principles of ecology. He wrote a bizarre comment piece for The Times, published last week in […]
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BASC suffers bout of amnesia

Just when we thought BASC was getting with the programme, it comes out with this drivel about the recently published raptor persecution map for England & Wales: This is a screengrab of part of an article that was published on the BASC website – the full article can be read here. BASC seems to be […]
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Taxpayers’ money used to fund nonsensical questionnaire on Hen Harrier Action Plan

While Natural England is busily keeping secret its plans for hen harrier brood meddling, unbelievably it has funded a new ‘study’ to find out what members of the public think about the Hen Harrier Action Plan! Some of you may have received an email recently from an academic researcher asking you to fill in an […]
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Natural England refuses to release Hen Harrier Brood Meddling Plan

Natural England continues its tirade of a lack of transparency and public accountability in relation to the Hen Harrier Action Plan. As regular blog readers will know, we’ve spent over a year trying to get details about the most controversial part of the HH Action Plan – the brood meddling scheme. Natural England has point […]
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Irish Raptor Study Group Annual Conference – bookings now open

The Irish Raptor Study Group is hosting its 2018 annual conference on Saturday 27th January 2018, at The Green Isle Conference & Leisure Hotel in Dublin. The conference is open to all, tickets cost 25 Euros. Booking details: IRSG_2018Conference_BookingForm Advertisements
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Birds of prey suffer massacre on moors

This made us laugh. The Dark Side will be seething about this damaging headline! Here’s an article from today’s edition of The Times (of all places!) – their interpretation of DEFRA’s crap raptor persecution maps: As usual, the article sits behind a paywall so here’s the extracted text: The North York Moors is the most […]
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DEFRA publishes inaccurate & out of date raptor persecution maps

In a desperate attempt to look like it’s doing something about tackling raptor persecution in England & Wales, DEFRA has published some raptor persecution maps covering the period 2011-2015, as developed by the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG). It needn’t have bothered. Apart from being extremely difficult to navigate, the maps are inaccurate, out […]
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Heads Up for Harriers Project condemned as “greenwashing exercise” in Parliamentary debate

Yesterday evening saw a Members Debate in the Scottish Parliament as a result of MSP Mairi Gougeon’s recent motion in support of the Heads Up for Harriers Project and the Role of Species Champions. The archive video of this debate can be watched here and the official report of the meeting can be read here: […]
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Heads Up for Hen Harriers Project: Parliamentary debate today at 5pm

Today in the Scottish Parliament there’ll be a Members’ Debate on the controversial Heads Up for Hen Harriers Project. The debate has been secured by Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Species Champion for the hen harrier, following her recent motion congratulating the Project on its “intense” and “considerable efforts” to protect the hen harrier: Heads Up […]
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£500 fine for man who mistakenly shot buzzard on Ralia Estate pheasant shoot

From an article in today’s P&J: A protected bird of prey died when an oil executive shot a buzzard he thought to be a pheasant when it flew out of woods on a Highland estate, a court heard yesterday. Keith Riddoch, of Craigden in Aberdeen, was on a shoot on the Ralia Estate near Newtonmore […]
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South Scotland golden eagle project gets final go-ahead

The South Scotland Golden Eagle Project, which proposes to translocate eaglets from the Highlands to southern Scotland in an effort to boost the tiny remnant population in the Borders & Dumfries & Galloway, has finally been given the funds and licence to begin. Earlier this year the project was awarded £1.3 million from the Heritage […]
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2018 start date for reintroduction of hen harrier to southern England?

Further to yesterday’s blog (here), Natural England has released more information in response to our FoI requests in relation to the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England. NE has established a new ‘internal’ group to advise the wider Southern Reintroduction Project Team on various technical aspects. This new internal group held its first […]
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Hen harrier reintro to southern England: report of fieldtrip to France (potential donor country)

As many of you know, one of the six action points in DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan is to ‘reintroduce’ hen harriers to southern England. As you’ll also know, over the last 12 months we’ve been trying to prise details out of Natural England about this ‘let’s divert attention from illegal persecution on driven grouse moors’ […]
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Scottish Government publishes 5th annual wildlife crime report

The Scottish Government has today published its latest Annual Wildlife Crime Report – the 5th one since it became a statutory obligation under the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011. The current report is entitled the ‘2016’ report, but it actually refers to wildlife crimes recorded from April 2015 to March 2016. Download the […]
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Yorkshire Water agrees to hen harrier brood meddling on its landholdings

Further to Tuesday’s blog about Natural England inviting the Ministry of Defence and Yorkshire Water to participate in the highly controversial hen harrier brood meddling plan (see here), we’ve heard back from Andrew Walker, Catchment Strategy Manager at Yorkshire Water (and we thank him for his prompt & courteous correspondence). “Natural England asked YWS to […]
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Heads Up for Hen Harriers Project: total greenwashing propaganda

It’s that time of year again when the Heads Up for Hen Harriers Project trots out more propaganda in an attempt to greenwash the criminal activities of the driven grouse shooting industry. This project began a few years ago and we’ve criticised it many times for being a partnership-working sham (e.g. see here, here, here, […]
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Update on our shedload of satellite-tagged golden eagles

Earlier this year we satellite-tagged a shedload of golden eagles in Scotland as part of a joint initiative with Chris Packham, funded by two very generous philanthropists (see here for project background). Our eagles are doing well, all of them still hanging out in their natal territories although a few have started to make some […]
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Natural England invites MoD and Yorkshire Water to get involved with hen harrier brood meddling plan

Brood meddling is one of the six action points in DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan, launched in January 2016. Regular blog readers will know that we initially got some information out of Natural England about this controversial action point (see here, here, here, here), but for the last year all our requests have been refused […]
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Grouse shooting industry’s histrionics over proposed estate licensing

Following on from Saturday’s news that the SNP’s National Council has voted to adopt an official policy of grouse moor licensing (see here), the grouse shooting industry has responded with a fine display of histrionics. A quick look on social media shows the usual buffoons shrieking about potential job losses and how everyone should get […]
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SNP adopts policy to support licensing of driven grouse shooting estates

RSPB press release: RSPB Scotland welcomes official SNP policy support for licensing shooting estates Motion approved at National Council A landmark decision by Scottish National Party (SNP) delegates to adopt officially a policy supporting licensing of driven grouse shooting estates has been welcomed by RSPB Scotland. At today’s (Saturday December 2nd 2017) National Council in Perth, […]
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New report reveals abject failure to protect birds of prey in the Peak District National Park

The Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative (BoPI) was launched in 2011, mainly in response to two damning reports from the RSPB about the continued illegal killing of raptors in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park (see here & here), as well as all the publicity from a criminal prosecution, and […]
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More on the grouse-shooting industry’s desire to kill Marsh harriers

Following on from yesterday’s blog where we reported that grouse moor owners want licences to kill Marsh harriers (see here), this news has obviously stirred up a lot of interest and commentary. We just want to clarify something here. We were not at the RPPDG meeting where this conversation took place; we simply reported information […]
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Grouse moor owners want licences to kill Marsh harriers

Yes, you did read the headline correctly. We’ve received reports from a number of independent sources that at the November 2017 meeting of DEFRA’s Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG), the Director of the Moorland Association (the mouthpiece for grouse moor owners in England), Amanda Anderson, said that grouse moor managers would be submitting applications […]
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Natural England’s progress report on the Hen Harrier Action Plan (summer 2017)

In September this year, Natural England told blog reader Mike Whitehouse that “work on the six actions set out in the [2016] Joint Hen Harrier Action Plan is progressing as expected. Ultimately we believe these actions will result in an increase in the numbers of hen harriers breeding in England“. Earlier this month, in its […]
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Parliamentary recognition for award-winning Scottish Raptor Study Group members

Following last week’s excellent news that three Scottish Raptor Study Group members had won top prizes in the RSPB’s Nature of Scotland Awards (here), further congratulations are due as an MSP has lodged a motion asking the Scottish Parliament to recognise the efforts of two of these raptor conservationists. Well done, Logan & Andrea! Advertisements
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Law professor joins Scot Gov’s grouse moor management review group

Further to last Friday’s announcement on the establishment of the Scottish Government’s grouse moor management review group (see here), another member has joined the panel. Professor Colin Reid (University of Dundee) specialises in Environmental Law and currently serves as Chair of the PAW Scotland Legislation, Regulation and Guidance Group. We’re delighted to see this appointment, […]
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MSPs asking questions re: Police Scotland silence on masked gunman in public forest

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about how a masked gunman and his masked accomplice had been captured on camera close to a protected raptor nest in a public (Forestry Commission Scotland) forest (here). The incident was recorded in spring 2017 and was reported to Police Scotland. There have been no public appeals for […]
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GWCT & YFTB: it’s getting harder to differentiate between them

The Mail on Sunday ran a story yesterday suggesting that the RSPB was responsible for the catastrophic decline of the English hen harrier breeding population. It went like this:   You might think this article was the handiwork of the grouse shooting industry’s propaganda machine, You Forgot the Birds (YFTB). It’s got all the hallmarks […]
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Grouse shooting industry response to police appeals re: missing hen harriers

Earlier this week North Yorkshire Police put out a public appeal for information regarding satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘John’, missing in suspicious circumstances and whose last known location was Threshfield Moor, a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. We also saw a public appeal for information from Northumbria Police and the RSPB regarding satellite-tagged […]
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Scottish Government announces Grouse moor management review group

Back in May 2017, Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced an intention to set up an independently-led group to review grouse moor management practices, and to advise on the introduction of an estate shoot licensing scheme. This was mainly in response to the publication of the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Review, which found that almost one […]
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Satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘Manu’ disappears in North Pennines

RSPB press release: ANOTHER RARE HEN HARRIER GOES MISSING Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the disappearance of a satellite-tagged hen harrier near Carlisle. The harrier, named Manu, was one of a nest of two chicks monitored and protected by the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership and tagged as part of the […]
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Three Scottish raptor workers scoop national conservation awards!

MASSIVE congratulations to Scottish Raptor Study Group members Logan Steele, Andrea Hudspeth and Brian Etheridge who have all scooped top prize in their respective categories at the annual Nature of Scotland Awards! L-R: Logan, Andrea, Mike Dilger (presenter) and Brian Logan and Andrea won the Political Advocate of the Year Award. This award is ‘to […]
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New report reveals widespread raptor persecution in Northern Ireland

The Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime Northern Ireland (PAW NI) has today published its latest report on bird of prey persecution 2015-2016. The report reveals that there were five confirmed illegal persecution incidents reported in 2015 and a further six in 2016, involving the killing of 12 protected birds of prey in Northern Ireland […]
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Great British Game Week not so great after all

It’s Great British Game Week this week (Nov 20-26) and the game-shooting industry is busy promoting it. The industry is desperate to get more people to buy game, particularly gamebirds, because there are deep concerns that supply is outstripping demand – here is a very interesting article on the subject by Charles Nodder of the […]
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Threshfield Moor named as missing hen harrier John’s last known location

Further to blogs about ‘missing’ satellite-tagged hen harrier ‘John’, who disappeared on a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in early October (see here and here), North Yorkshire Police has just issued the following appeal for information: North Yorkshire Police is appealing for information following the loss of a hen harrier on Threshfield […]
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Poisoning of reintroduced red kites in England: new paper

A new scientific paper has just been published that suggests anti-coagulant rodenticide poisoning, illegal pesticide poisoning, and lead poisoning ‘may be slowing the recovery of red kites in England’. The paper, ‘Poisoning of reintroduced red kites (Milvus milvus) in England’ has been authored by scientists from the Institute of Zoology, Natural England, FERA Science Ltd […]
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DEFRA’s response to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting petition

Late last week DEFRA provided its response to Gavin Gamble’s e-petition calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting after the petition reached 10,000 signatures. DEFRA’s response was entirely predictable and we have no intention of spending time on a detailed analysis of its complacency and denial; Mark Avery has already covered this well (see […]
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Police Scotland’s reluctance to discuss raptor crimes puts public safety at risk

Last week we blogged about an incident caught on a Forestry Commission Scotland camera in spring 2017 showing two masked individuals, one carrying a firearm, within 30m of a raptor nest site in a public forest (see here). Forest Enterprise Scotland refused to tell us at which species’ nest and in which public forest this […]
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Scottish Government dragging its feet on grouse moor management review

Following last week’s blog about how an announcement was imminent on the formation and composition of the independently-led grouse moor management review group, another deadline has been and gone. As you’ll recall, Environment Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced this review on 31 May 2017, following the Scottish Raptor Study Group’s petition calling for game-shoot licensing […]
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Hen harrier ‘missing’ on grouse moor in Yorkshire Dales National Park is ‘John’

Last month we blogged about yet another satellite-tagged hen harrier that had suspiciously ‘disappeared’ on a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (see here). We only knew about it because North Yorkshire Police mentioned it on Twitter and posted a few photographs from the search scene: We made a general enquiry to Natural […]
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