The responses to this RSPB Facebook campaign might be a surprising lesson for the charity
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have recently launched a new campaign on social media, including on Facebook. Alongside a picture of a Curlew, the campaign states that: “One in four UK bird species are now on the Red List. That’s more than ever before. We have the expertise, dedication and passion to save them, but we need your help.”
The text tells readers that the Curlew has seen a “50% decline over 25 years”, before requesting that people “Donate today to help save red-listed bird species.”
Of course, all of this gives the passing reader the impression that the RSPB are best placed to save endangered bird species such as the Curlew, and it might well encourage them to send a few pounds their way – or even to set up a regular donation to the charity.
Perhaps what they weren’t banking on, however, was the response from their followers who saw these adverts pop up on their Facebook page.
One highlighted the RSPB's attitude to predator control – pointing out that one of the reasons Curlew numbers have plummeted is due to predation from both ground-based predators and other birds such as corvids and gulls – particularly in moorland areas which have seen a large increase in gull numbers, and no way to reduce gull populations, as they have been removed from the general licence.
Another commenter pointed out a post referring to Lake Vyrnwy; the RSPB reserve which we have written about before. In the 40 years which the RSPB have managed the area, wildlife and biodiversity have plummeted. When it was run privately, there was an abundance of black grouse, merlin and hen harriers amongst other species on the land. Now, they are requesting yet more money to 'try and get some wildlife back', stating themselves that:
"Without the serious interventions RSPB is proposing... in the next few years curlew, black grouse and merlin will cease to appear as a breeding species in this area of Wales. It is likely that the same fate would fall red grouse and hen harrier within the next decade.”
We know that the RSPB are unlikely to listen to us – they think they know best. Perhaps, then, they will listen to the public: the very people they are asking to donate to their coffers?