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25th September 2018

The Moorland Association said today that ‘real progress’ is being made in the fight against raptor persecution.

Following the publication of the 2017 Birdcrime Report by RSPB, Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “This report clearly demonstrates that progress is being made on the issue of raptor persecution. Grouse moors are embracing the most modern land management practices within the law to ensure healthy populations of birds of prey. We are committed to a representative assemblage of birds of prey across our uplands. There is a way to go and we believe the best chance of eradicating all forms of wildlife crime is widespread collaboration from all relevant people and organisations, this includes the RSPB.

“Confirmed incidents of persecution across the UK have declined 15% from last year and we have seen a decrease of 25% in North Yorkshire which is particularly encouraging. We look forward to this trend continuing due to on the ground collaborative action.

“The report highlights the plight of the hen harriers and there is a commitment to restoring a sustainable and well-dispersed population of this iconic bird of prey in England and there is cause for optimism given the success earlier this year of the hen harrier breeding season in England. 34 chicks fledged from 9 nests with 60% of successful fledging occurring on land managed for grouse shooting.

“Gamekeepers and landowners are working with Natural England to monitor the satellite-tagged birds’ movements and report sightings and this level of collaboration is fantastic to see.

“Hen harrier breeding success was complemented by a strong breeding season for peregrines, merlin, short eared owls and goshawks in the Peak District bucking recent declines. Initiatives to bolster bird of prey populations are part of the wider conservation efforts underway by Moorland Association members across the north of England including extensive restoration of English peatlands. Moorland Association members have voluntarily agreed with Government to suspend rotational heather burning on fragile deep peat to enhance its condition.”


Did You Know?

75% of of the world’s remaining heather moorland is found in Britain – but this area declined alarmingly over the latter part of the last century. The Moorland Association was set up in 1986 to coordinate the efforts of moorland owners and managers to halt this loss, particularly in England and Wales.

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