‘Illegal persecution remains most serious threat to hen harriers’ – RSPB statement on 2020 breeding season

Following the news earlier today that deluded Natural England thinks the 2020 hen harrier breeding season was a ‘wonderful result’ (see here), the RSPB has now issued a statement:

‘The news that 60 hen harrier chicks have fledged in England this year is encouraging, and testament to the crucial monitoring from raptor workers. However, while 24 nests monitored is an improvement on the 7 nests in 2017, there is enough habitat and prey to support more than 12 times this year’s total. The science is clear that illegal persecution remains the most serious threat to this species  –  since 2018, 43 hen harriers are known to have been killed or “gone missing”, after fledging. The sad reality for those who passionately protect these birds is that some of this years’ fledglings risk being killed. If this painfully slow recovery is to gather pace, and these beautiful and enigmatic birds are to become as common across our landscapes as they should be, the illegal persecution must stop’.

It’s now pretty clear why the RSPB didn’t sign up to the laughably optimistic joint press statement from Natural England, GWCT and the Moorland Association.


16 thoughts on “‘Illegal persecution remains most serious threat to hen harriers’ – RSPB statement on 2020 breeding season”

    1. Whether he wrote it or not, he would most definitely have signed it off, knowing the scrutiny it would face.

      I’m not sure why you’re struggling to believe Tony Juniper would support it. Whilst conservationists fight for hen harriers through the courts, Juniper sanctions the shameful hen harrier brood meddling scheme, designed with the sole purpose of appeasing the influential grouse shooting industry, e.g. see here:


    2. Juniper also signed off on the badger cull which serves no purpose other than appeasing the NFU who want them cleared from the countryside.

    3. “I can’t believe he wrote it.”

      I can. Quite a long time ago I was put up against Tony Juniper in a live debate on Channel 4 News. I found him intellectually dishonest. He was very keen on political ‘sound-bites’ but the truth is always complex, and requires detailed examination. He liked to skate over awkward details.

      Channel 4 News thought it amusing/interesting to put up someone who was a member of Friends of the Earth (me) yet was opposed to at least one major policy of its Director.

      He now, unfortunately, appears to occupy a similar position to that of Barbara Pompili, the current French Minister of ‘Ecological Transition’, who has just signed off on the legal slaughter of tens of thousands of Turtle Doves. She was previously a member of the French ‘Greens’ and then of ‘Europe Ecology – The Greens’ for 15 years.

      Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  1. Juniper claims he has no choice because Natural England have to follow the government line. He does have a choice: he can resign stating that Natural England is not fit for purpose, can do nothing to protect wildlife and the environment, and is merely a propaganda organisation set up to whitewash the government and the criminals in the shooting industry.

  2. Just before Tony Juniper got the job at NE, I attended the AGM of a local Wildlife Trust. A session about Wilding (or re-wilding) was chaired by Tony with Isabella Tree from Knepp and Professor Alistair Driver as guest speakers. It was an inspiring afternoon and I was excited that Tony got the job at NE. Nearly everything he said at that meeting now seem contrary to his subsequent actions. I am saddened and appalled!

  3. We have known this goes on a very long time, why if it is supposed to be illegal and these birds ARE protected laughable, aren’t these game keeper’s being prosecuted and it is the game keeper’s under instructions from the landlord’s who organise the game shooting.
    Oh well I guess these xxxxx are above the law!!
    Am I right???

  4. I’m extremely disappointed with Tony Juniper who I met through our involvement with Friends of the Earth many years ago and Iexpected better things from him!!

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