15th November 2022
Following publication of the RSPB bird crime report today, the Moorland Association has issued the following statement:
We unreservedly condemn any form of wildlife crime. We have a zero-tolerance policy of raptor persecution. Government, land owners, charities and game shooting organisations are all committed to stamping out illegal raptor killing and work together positively to that end.
Examination of the raptor incidents cited in this report does show a continuing downward trend, in the uplands in particular, and this is to be welcomed, albeit more work needs to be done. It is notable that many of the incidents reported do not occur on land managed for grouse shooting.
It is disappointing that the RSPB report does not reflect satisfactorily the continued growth in the UK’s bird of prey population, now well in excess of 250,000 adults, the highest level for a hundred years. Only three out of the UK’s 21 species of birds of prey are on the red list of species of conservation concern. For example, the breeding success of Hen Harriers in the uplands – the best for generations – is a real cause for celebration. Land managed for grouse is a haven for birds of prey, providing a predator-controlled environment and plentiful sources of food. Buzzards, merlin and red kites in particular are thriving on grouse moors for all to see.