We’re approaching the Inglorious 12th – the start of the grouse shooting season and that means that we are approaching the 8th UK Hen Harrier Day.  The three founders of Wild Justice were influential in establishing Hen Harrier Day as part of the UK conservation scene and we’re all quite proud of that fact.  Now there are lots of people involved and we thank all of them for what they are doing to spread the word.
You will see a flurry of stories about grouse shooting and Hen Harriers at this time of year and that has already started.  Here are some examples:
Prince Harry and the Hen Harriers: back in October 2007 there was a reported shooting of two Hen Harriers at a roost site in west Norfolk, on the Sandringham Estate, and Prince Harry, a gamekeeper and William van Cutsem were interviewed by the police about the incident. It’s a long time ago but it was all over the news media for ages back then. The fact that Prince Harry is writing a book of memoirs made many people wonder what revelations might come out, including about that incident. Wild Justice director, Ruth Tingay, was quoted in the story wondering whether the Prince would spill the beans on what happened all those years ago.  Ruth said ‘In recent years Prince Harry has portrayed himself as an enthusiastic conservationist, deeply concerned about the plight of the world’s wildlife. This claim would have far more credibility if he was to use his memoir as a vehicle for exposing the rampant criminality within the driven grouse shooting industry, as it is this, and this alone that is overwhelmingly responsible for the continuing catastrophic decline of the hen harrier in England.’click here to see the story in the Guardian.
UK National Parks dominated by driven grouse moors: UK National Parks aren’t like those in most countries, they are national parks in name only as most economic activities go ahead with little restraint.  In this story in the Guardian (again) our friends in Rewilding Britain show that many upland National Parks in the UK are dominated by intensive and damaging management for grouse shooting. Wild Justice director Mark Avery was quoted expressing concern at these figures.  Mark said ‘Is this really what national parks are for? We should ban driven grouse shooting anyway but let’s start with inside our national parks. The current trend is for rewilding upland habitats to make them more nature-rich but 44% of the Cairngorms national park is dewilded because of a rich man’s hobby.‘ – click here to see the story in the Guardian.
Hen Harrier numbers in England: and yet another story about Hen Harriers and grouse shooting in the Guardian with another quote from Wild Justice. This year looks like being another slightly better one for Hen Harriers in England – which is good.  But the Guardian comes close to printing a Moorland Association press release except the story injects just the right amount of scepticism and quotes Wild Justice’s Mark Avery saying ‘These are not official figures. They are from an incredibly vested interest which itself is responsible for the lack of hen harriers. They are trying to make a terrible situation look better than it is.  There should be more than 300 pairs of hen harriers nesting in England and there aren’t. There is one solution to the hen harrier problem – stop killing hen harriers, like the law says.‘ – click here to read this Guardian story.


And finally, on this subject: we have our own Hen Harrier Day online event being broadcast live from 10am-1130am tomorrow. To get the information on what’s happening, who’s taking part and how you can help then register (free) with a click here and we’ll send you the information later today for tomorrow’s event.


Something not about grouse moors: yesterday we wrote to Natural England and DEFRA about a technical document published by Natural England about how to measure biodiversity value. See our blog – click here.


And two petitions for your consideration, please:

  1. This is from Rewilding Britain (as mentioned above) and calls for the rewilding of our national parks – click here.
  2. This is from Prof. Dave Goulson who is calling for an end to the use of urban and garden pesticides – click here We have our own news on pesticides which we will share with you soon after we’ve finished with the splurge of news stories about grouse shooting that will continue next week.
Wild Justice (Directors: Mark Avery, Chris Packham and Ruth Tingay).
Photo credit: Hen Harrier food pass by Gordon Yates.