New paper links raptor persecution to driven grouse moors in Peak District National Park

A new scientific, peer-reviewed paper, published in the journal British Birds, links the illegal killing of birds of prey with driven grouse moor management in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park.

Full citation: Melling, T., Thomas, M., Price, M. and Roos, S. (2018). Raptor persecution in the Peak District National Park. British Birds 111 (May): 275-290.

Unfortunately we’re not permitted to publish the full paper [UPDATE: paper now available at the foot of this blog] but here is the abstract and a number of the figures:

The RSPB has published a blog about this research which is well worth a read – here.

At the end of the RSPB blog, RSPB Investigator Mark Thomas writes: “It’s going to be interesting to see the response to our paper“.

The response will be the same one we’ve seen to every other scientific paper linking illegal raptor persecution to driven grouse moor management (and there have been many):

  1. Conservationists will be appalled (but not surprised);
  2. The grouse shooting industry will either (a) ignore it or (b) try to undermine the credibility of the authors and the science;
  3. The statutory authorities will either (a) ignore it or (b) they’ll acknowledge it and say raptor persecution ‘won’t be tolerated’ and then do nothing.

We still need to work on increasing public awareness about the illegal persecution of raptors on driven grouse moors and encourage more voters to apply pressure to their political representatives. Good progress has been made in the last few years but there is much, much more to do.

Scientific papers such as this latest one all help build the evidence, although if they sit behind a journal paywall they have limited value. Please help spread the word about this paper, especially on social media, and if you’re a resident of the Peak District National Park or if you live nearby and your MP’s constituency extends in to the Park, please send a copy of the paper’s abstract to them and ask that they contact Wildlife Minister Therese Coffey at DEFRA to demand she takes action.

In fact, even if you’re not a Peak District resident, this is a National Park that is there for all of us to enjoy, so please send a copy of this paper’s abstract to your local MP, wherever you live, and ask him/her to demand action from Minister Therese Coffey on your behalf.

The illegal killing of raptors on grouse moors in this National Park (and many others) has been going on for decades. It’s all documented. It will continue to go on unless we demand change. Please act.

UPDATE: Here is the paper in full:

17 thoughts on “New paper links raptor persecution to driven grouse moors in Peak District National Park”

  1. It’s an excellent paper and well worth subscribing to ‘BB’ for alone. Your comments are spot on but with regard to your point 2 I would add c) launch vicious, unfounded attacks on the integrity of the RSPB and its staff directly or indirectly via their proxies on Facebook, their astroturf organisation You Forgot About the Birds and their influential friends in the national media. The transparency of their motivation for doing so will ultimately backfire on them. I wonder has anyone sent a copy to Nicholas Soames MP and other apologists for DGS who were involved in the Parliamentary debate?

  2. Very good but it’s what we’ve all known for a long time. These bastards don’t give a shit about science and hard facts.

  3. the perpetrators of these crimes don’t care. just as we have seen with the lies coming from Amber Rudd etc., the Tory people and the ‘elite’ who are all part of the pheasant shooting, fox, stag and hare hunting bunch do seem to feel they have a god given right to do as they like whether that entails breaking the law or not. time that changed. as a 72 yr old could it have been watching Robin Hood , black and white version, as a child that turned me into a socialist! Who else remembers the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham in his black leather studded jacket? ggrrr

  4. Combining the two maps and ignoring the colour of the bird symbols gives us a map of the distribution without persecution. Pretty amazing how rich the PD could be!
    And it is so easy to achieve. Ban driven grouse shooting and licence all shooting.

  5. I thought the entire peak district was an accepted raptor black hole? Where exactly has the 20-fold population increase taken place? I acknowledge the other conclusions reached in this particular paper, but is there not also something in there to celebrate?

      1. I mean if there has genuinely been a 20 fold increase then that is some seriously good news in the face of relentless bad news.

        That doesn’t mean it detracts from the bad news.

  6. After the publication of this paper, I contacted my local MP Thelma Walker (Colne Valley) and was delighted to receive a very prompt response. Thelma said: “I have concerns over the illegal killing of raptors and in particular, the Hen Harrier. This unacceptable practice occurs in some areas where grouse shooting takes place…. I also have concerns over any shooting where beating takes place to drive the birds to the waiting guns. I believe that both practices should cease.”

    This is excellent and a massive improvement on Thelma’s predecessor, Jason McCartney, who told me that he’d visited the local grouse shooting syndicate and didn’t believe they would do anything illegal, then tried to fob me off with briefing materials provided to him by Jim Barrington from the Countryside Alliance (with the name of the organisation redacted….)

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