A couple of weeks ago Natural England published a press release (along with an interesting choice of ‘partners’ – the GWCT and Moorland Association) in which the 2020 hen harrier breeding season was pronounced ‘a wonderful result’ (see here).
It wasn’t ‘a wonderful result’ at all but Natural England and co put on a display worthy of a circus contortionist to make it appear so.
The RSPB wasn’t included in that press release – apparently they’d been asked to provide a quote but chose not to – instead the RSPB published its own statement, which reflected a much more honest evaluation of the state of the 2020 breeding season (see here).
Yesterday the Northern England Raptor Foum (NERF) published its own statement on the 2020 hen harrier breeding season and it doesn’t pull any punches. ‘The brass band can stand down‘.
You can read the full NERF statement (here) and here is an excerpt:
NERF is a member of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group [RPPDG], and as such is a consultee under Action 4 of NE’s Hen Harrier Recovery Plan. Yet when Natural England went in search of supporting comments for their press release they only published comments from the shooting industry. Perhaps Natural England would like to explain why that was the case. They may also want to explain why NERF wasn’t included in the list of organisations working in partnership for the benefit of Hen Harriers.
NERF is at the forefront of Hen Harrier nest finding and monitoring during the breeding season, ringing, satellite tagging and winter roost monitoring in partnership with the RSPB. Despite this, we weren’t approached for a comment when Natural England published their press release. If we had been asked for and provided a comment we doubt that it would have been published. Natural England should be in no doubt that without the dedication of NERF members who commit hundreds of voluntary hours to monitoring and self-fund thousands of miles to monitor Hen Harriers the species would be in a much worse state than it is currently.
Natural England has ballsed this up big time, and continues to stumble from one shambolic incident to the next, some with more serious consequences than others (e.g. see this blog (here) from Mark Avery this morning discussing how it appears Natural England has misled a Minister, either through intention or ineptitude).
More to come.