A few days ago we wrote a blog about what appeared to be a bin full of dead mountain hares being used as bait in a stink pit bin on a grouse moor in the Peak District National Park (see here).
The blog stimulated a lot of comments about the identification of the species in the bin, whether or not the bin was being used as a stink pit, and whether the whole thing had been a set up by the Hunt Investigation Team.
A blog reader (independent of the Hunt Investigation Team) has sent in some more photographs that were taken on the same grouse moor, and on one other grouse moor also within the National Park, in years previous to the Hunt Investigation Team’s visit earlier this year.
This image (below) is particularly interesting – it’s the same stink pit bin, photographed in 2015, clearly showing a set snare on the lead in path, presumably set to catch any fox that might be attracted to the stench of rotting flesh in the bin:
On the same estate, a dead mountain hare with its belly slit open was photographed (1 March 2015) on a path where a snare had been set. The snare is quite difficult to see in this photo – it is to right of the path, adjacent to the fallen branch:
This photo (below) shows the same scene from the reverse angle, with the snare in the foreground:
This photo (below) shows another stink pit containing dead mountain hares (this time on a different grouse moor within the National Park) and the photographer says snares were seen surrounding the site but they were not set (photo taken Xmas Eve 2016).
It is clear from these photographs that mountain hares are being used as bait on these grouse moors to attract in predators that will be snared and killed. All of this is legal.
However, as we argued on the earlier blog, the mountain hare is listed as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species (UKBAP), identified as threatened and requiring conservation action. The Peak District National Park Authority has the mountain hare listed as a priority species within the Park and say it is “a locally important species for which we’re taking action” (see here).
How does allowing them to be killed on a grouse moor within the National Park, and then used as bait to catch and kill other wildlife, constitute conservation action?
Emails to Sarah Fowler, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority: firstname.lastname@example.org