Its ironic that having driven the hen harrier to the verge of extinction on the Northern English moors, certain members of the shooting community seek to lecture the RSPB and others on their responsibilities for the continuing decline of this beautiful raptor. Hen Harriers have evolved to breed along side their natural predators and to take a high percentage of breeding and nest failures. Recent studies have shown that up to 70% of nests will fail because of predation, poor weather and lack of food. They have adopted a wide range of strategies to enable them cope successfully. However when you reduce the population to the extent that there are only a few adult birds retuning to their nesting sites, then the chances of these surviving predation and poor weather etc,even if the birds aren’t disappeared by nefarious means, are slim.
Perhaps the shooting community is feeling buoyed up and brave because of the election result? Perhaps they don’t understand science. What ever the reasons we can expect a constant stream of lies and bullshit from them as they seek to pass the blame for the loss of this wonderful raptor from our Northern Moorlands.
And why does the Hen Harrier matter? It is after all just one raptor, often hard to see. Will the world be any different if it no longer breeds in the Northern English moorlands?
Well surprisingly I think the hen harrier does matter. It matters because it is part of our heritage, part of the natural community that we are all entitled to share in, to enjoy, learn from and sometimes just plain just marvel at. And we are being robbed of this right by a few selfish ignorant oafs, who care nothing for the countryside or the landscape, other than to maximise the number of game birds that they can produce from it. And they even take taxpayers money in form of subsidies to do it. That’s like sticking two fingers in your face when they have their hands on your wallet.
So if you care about these things, take some action. Join one of the many groups that stick up for and try and protect our wildlife from the lies, disinformation and persecution. And get out there and ask questions about why in the Peak District there are no hen harriers, and when a pair do try and nest, they need round the clock protection just to keep the men with guns away. Write to your local councillor, your MP, tell your friends, make your voice heard. Do something positive, do it today.