‘Raptors in Britain are still affected by illegal persecution’ is stating the bleedin’ obvious to many readers of this blog but it’s still an important statement to repeat, especially when it’s done by one of the world’s most distinguished ornithologists, Professor Ian Newton.
Ian has just written a review paper on the subject, which again won’t contain anything not already known to many blog readers (that’s why it’s called a review paper, after all) but it’s still worth a read because Ian’s writing style is second to none, in his ability to condense complex ecological principles in to a language that anybody of moderate intelligence can comprehend. (His 1979 book Population Ecology of Raptors is still THE best in its field).
His review article, Killing of raptors on grouse moors: evidence and effects has just been published in the British Ornithologists Union (BOU) journal Ibis and is open access, which means you don’t have to pay to read it.
You can download it here:
To accompany the review article in Ibis, Ian has also written a short blog on the BOU website that can be read here.
Ibis is an important platform for Ian’s article for a number of reasons – it’s one of the most well-respected ornithological journals in the world, which means its papers are viewed with high regard by an international audience, and this particular article is likely to reach a wider audience than might normally be interested in UK conservation simply because Ian wrote it!
At the end of his scientific review, Ian has included a discussion section where he outlines the various options for reducing the ongoing killing of birds of prey on driven grouse moors: vicarious liability, licensing and banning.
He’s a bit behind the curve on this, as he suggests, ‘Only dialogue, mutual understanding and compromise are likely to lessen this conflict‘. It sounds like a reasonable approach and is one adopted by many when they first learn about what’s going on, but has to be seen in the context of decades of failed talks, decades of failed partnerships, decades of denial, decades of continued illegal killing and decades of sticking up two fingers to law-abiding society.
Even the mild-mannered RSPB has almost reached the end of its tether, offering the game-shooting industry one final drink in the last chance saloon before calling for a ban on driven grouse shooting.
Some of us are already there – last orders were called some time ago and now it’s chucking out time.