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Mark Osborne on hen harriers, Mark Avery and Chris Packham

Some of you will be very familiar with the name of sporting agent Mark Osborne. He is feted within the grouse-shooting industry for his ability to turn a ‘poorly performing’ grouse moor in to “something beyond the moor owner’s wildest dreams” (e.g. see here). Some of you may be more familiar with the names of some of […]
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SNH notifies two more estates of intention to restrict General Licence

The ability for SNH to impose a General Licence restriction order on land where there is evidence of raptor persecution taking place came in to force on 1 January 2014. This measure, based on a civil burden of proof, was introduced by then Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse in response to the continuing difficulties of meeting […]
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Mountain hares killed and dumped in a bin on grouse moor in Peak District National Park

Earlier this month a group called the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) released disturbing footage they’d filmed during the spring on the Moscar Estate, a grouse-shooting estate in the Peak District National Park (see here). The footage included masked men, purportedly gamekeepers, snaring badgers and mountain hares. Derbyshire Constabulary is currently investigating the group’s claims. HIT […]
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Scottish Raptor Study Group letter in response to estate licensing scaremongering claims

Earlier this month we blogged about two articles that were published in the Scottish Mail on Sunday about so-called ‘draconian’ proposals to introduce a licensing scheme for game shooting estates (see here). One piece was just a review of various organisations’ positions and the other one was a fairly lengthy comment piece written by Carrieanne […]
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National Trust to receive petition calling for cessation of grouse shooting

Today (Tuesday 25 July 2017) the National Trust will receive a petition calling for the cessation of grouse shooting on one of their moors in the Peak District National Park. The petition was launched last year by a newly-formed group called Moorland Vision (see website here). It was triggered by a video we posted on […]
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Gas gun on Broomhead Estate: an update

Ten days ago we blogged about a gas gun that had been photographed on the Broomhead Estate in the Peak District National Park (see here). This moor is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The SSSI and SPA designations are, in part, to […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: Project team visits France

Continuing on from recent blogs (here, here and here) about a series of updates on the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, here’s some more news gleaned from the latest FoI response from Natural England. We know from previous FoI responses from Natural England that the Southern England Reintroduction Team has been scouting around looking […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: revised costs

Continuing on from recent blogs (here, here) about a series of updates on the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, here’s some more news gleaned from the latest FoI response from Natural England. The estimated cost of a ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England has previously been estimated at £515k (see DEFRA’s Hen […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: Dartmoor as potential new release site

Continuing from yesterday’s blog about a series of updates on the proposed ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England, here’s some more news gleaned from the latest FoI response from Natural England. We knew from previous FoIs that Natural England was looking at Wiltshire and Exmoor National Park as the two preferred release sites for […]
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Hen harrier ‘reintroduction’ to southern England: new project manager appointed

As many of you will know, DEFRA’s Hen Harrier (In)Action Plan was launched in January 2016. We’ve been particularly interested in two of the six ‘action points’: Brood meddling, and a ‘reintroduction’ of hen harriers to southern England. We blogged recently about how this year Natural England has been refusing to release any more information […]
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Super computer needed to count this year’s English hen harrier nests

Here’s the tried and tested method that Natural England has deployed in recent years to count the number of hen harrier nests in England. In fact they’ve only needed one hand to complete the task. This year, there are so many hen harrier nests, they’ve had to deploy a super computer to cope with the […]
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SGA Chairman wonders why gamekeepers aren’t respected

We always look forward to the publication of Scottish Gamekeeper, the quarterly rag for members of the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association. As you can imagine, it’s often stuffed full of bright intellectual commentary and an appreciation of birds with hooked beaks and sharp talons. The latest edition landed on our doormat last week and as ever, […]
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There’s nothing ‘draconian’ about licensing game shooting estates

There were a couple of articles published in the Scottish Mail on Sunday yesterday about the possibility (probability) of the introduction of game shoot licensing in Scotland. The first article didn’t bring anything new to the story; it was just a re-hashed version of who’s said what since Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced a package […]
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“The hen harrier…..this is a nasty bird of evil habits. It must be got rid of at all costs”

“The hen harrier….this is a nasty bird of evil habits. It quarters the moor a few feet above the ground and pounces on grouse or chicks it catches unawares. It must be got rid of at all cost”. This is a quote. You might think it’s attributable to Amanda Anderson (Director, Moorland Association). It’s not […]
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Another gas gun on Broomhead Estate grouse moor, Peak District National Park

Regular blog readers will know we’ve been banging on about the use of propane-powered gas guns (bird scarers) on grouse moors for a couple of years. For those who don’t know, propane gas guns are routinely used for scaring birds (e.g. pigeons, geese) from agricultural crops – they are set up to deliver an intermittent […]
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Meet the raptor scientists: series of public talks in Scotland, Sept 2017

Here’s an unusual opportunity to listen to a number of raptor scientists talking about their research, with subsequent panel discussions and audience debate. Day one will be held in Edinburgh (Friday 22 September 2017) at the Royal Botanic Garden Lecture Theatre. Tickets cost £20 and this includes refreshments and lunch. Here’s the programme: Day two […]
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Eight Scottish osprey chicks translocated to Poole Harbour, Dorset

Some welcome conservation news for a change: Press release from charity Birds of Poole Harbour: Eight Osprey chicks from Scotland have safely arrived in Poole Harbour as part of a five-year translocation project, aimed at re-establishing this species on its former breeding grounds on the south coast of England. The project which is being run by Birds […]
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Police investigating footage of ‘gamekeepers’ shooting & snaring wildlife in Peak District National Park

The Mirror has just published an article entitled “Barbaric”: Wild animals trapped and shot in UK National Park to protect birds for shooting season and a by-line stating “Film taken in Peak District National Park shows gamekeepers shooting and trapping wild animals in a bid to stop them killing grouse as bird hunting season nears” (see […]
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Natural England still refusing to release details of Hen Harrier brood meddling plans

Regular blog readers will know that we’ve taken a keen interest in DEFRA’s Hen Harrier Action Plan, which was published in January 2016. We’ve been particularly interested in two of the six action points of this plan: brood meddling and the southern reintroduction. On brood meddling, through a series of FoIs last year, we were […]
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Protest march to Downing Street, 12th August 2017

A coalition of wildlife campaigners will be marching to Downing Street on the Inglorious 12th August 2017 to protest about the on-going cruelty and criminality against badgers, foxes and hen harriers in the UK countryside. Key issues of this protest include the Government’s ineffective and costly badger cull policy, strengthening rather than appealing the Hunting […]
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Mass shooting of protected gulls on Lancashire grouse moor

RSPB press release:blog (as read on Mark Avery’s blog) The RSPB has learned that large numbers of protected birds are being killed on a grouse moor in Lancashire. A RSPB staff member working in the Bowland area discovered two estate workers shooting nesting lesser black-backed gulls – on a grouse moor managed by the Abbeystead Estate […]
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Gift of Grouse chef told to refrain from calling red grouse “organic”

Following earlier blogs where we challenged Gift of Grouse chef Andrew Fairlie’s claim that red grouse are “organic” (see here and here), the Foods Standards Officer at Perth & Kinross Council has completed an investigation. Here are the findings: “You are alleging that Mr Fairlie makes a fraudulent claim about organic status of red grouse […]
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Trading standards investigating claim red grouse are “organic”

A few days ago we blogged about an extraordinary claim that red grouse are “organic” (see here). The claim was made by chef Andrew Fairlie, who runs the Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie Restaurant at Gleneagles Hotel. His claim was widely published in Scottish newspapers and also promoted on the Gift of Grouse website. We did a […]
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Buzzard caught in illegally-set trap on Monadhliaths grouse moor

Police Scotland have this afternoon published the following statement: Investigation into illegal setting of traps, Strathdearn Police Scotland can confirm that an investigation into the alleged illegal setting of traps to deliberately target birds of prey near Auchintoul, Strathdearn has been launched. Police were informed of an incident that occurred on 7 June 2017 where […]
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Gift of Grouse chef claims red grouse are “organic”

The Scottish grouse shooting industry’s propaganda machine, The Gift of Grouse, is definitely a gift that just keeps giving. It stumbles from one gaffe to the next with extraordinary frequency. This week, the Gift of Grouse has joined forces with “Scotland’s leading chefs” to promote the use of red grouse in more restaurants and hotels. […]
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