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Raptor persecution falls to lowest level in a decade as hen harrier numbers soar across the uplands

Last week the RSPB's latest Birdcrime report was published which showed bird of prey persecution has fallen to its lowest rate in decades.

Yet the annual report - which has become little more than PR stunt for the troubled charity - fails to acknowledge the extraordinary success story of the hen harrier Brood Management Scheme, which, in just five years, has seen England’s population increase to a 200-year high.

It is hard to understand how this cannot be regarded as a ‘meaningful recovery’, according to the GWCT in a letter to the Guardian today.

The letter goes on to say:

"The report also fails to acknowledge that grouse moor management provides an ideal habitat for harriers and other ground nesting raptors such as merlin and short eared owls, which are vulnerable to predation and prefer the heather clad landscapes maintained by the work of the moorland managers. This management protects peatlands from the threat of wildfire and, as GWCT peer reviewed research has shown, is saving some of our best loved waders such as curlew, golden plover and lapwing from likely extinction."

"The Brood Management Scheme allows this important conservation work to continue alongside the restoration of England’s hen harrier population. It is surely a shining example of human/wildlife conflict resolution that would be the envy of other countries trying to find similar solutions".


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