National Gamekeepers' Organisation on today's RSPB Birdcrime report
The facts are that birds of prey are thriving on land managed for shooting. The figures show us that all UK raptors are on the increase and the Hen Harrier is in fact doing best on moors managed for grouse shooting
Released today, the RSPB’s latest bird crime report will result in some dramatic headlines. Even one wildlife crime or illegal bird of prey killing is, in our opinion, too many. What the report does show is that there is a continuous, year-on-year decline in the number of incidents. Incidents of illegal persecution of birds of prey have fallen to their lowest levels for more than a decade, which can only be seen as a positive.
Tim Weston, Director for Conservation, Policy and Politics at the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said:
“The NGO has a very robust stance on any wildlife crime, and a zero-tolerance policy towards any incident involving the illegal killing of birds of prey.
“The facts are that birds of prey are thriving on land managed for shooting. The figures show us that all UK raptors are on the increase and the Hen Harrier is in fact doing best on moors managed for grouse shooting. Over 100 hen harriers fledged on grouse moors last breeding season alone far more than on any so called nature reserve.
“Gamekeepers are leading on important conservation projects in England, including the southern hen Harrier reintroduction which will make this species far more widespread which can only be a good thing. The RSPB have declined to help with this ambitious project to increase the range of the hen Harrier.
“Clever wording in the RSPB report means that suspected instances of a crime have been counted as fact; the reality is that bird crime is a hugely rare occurrence and one that we continue to work towards stamping out completely. There is also a failure to acknowledge that ²/³ of all raptors don't make it through their first year, with many sadly dying naturally in the first four months of life.
“We all need to work together to ensure that bird crime continues to decrease and eventually reach the zero mark. We also need to celebrate the good work that gamekeepers and land managers do, and the enormous successes that they are achieving with bird of prey and red-listed bird numbers all across the UK.”
Notes to Editors:
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation: The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) represents the gamekeepers of England and Wales. The NGO defends and promotes gamekeeping and gamekeepers and works to ensure high standards throughout the profession. The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation was founded in 1997 by a group of gamekeepers who felt that keepering was threatened by public misunderstanding and poor representation. Today, there are 13,000 members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation. www.nationalgamekeepers.org.uk
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