Here we go again.
YET ANOTHER satellite-tagged hen harrier has ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances, this time in the Peak District National Park.
The unnamed harrier hatched in 2021 and was being tracked by the RSPB. It was reported missing on 10th February 2022.
[Hen harrier, photo by Pete Blanchard]
South Yorkshire Police have issued the following appeal for information today:
Disappointingly, the last known location of the bird has not been given other than ‘in the Stocksbridge area of Sheffield’. However, it can be narrowed down somewhat by a tweet published by a member of the RSPB’s Investigations Team, who said the harrier had vanished ‘in the Peak District’.
If you look on Google maps, Stocksbridge [red marker] is just outside the boundary of the Peak District National Park. If you cross the park boundary into the National Park, surprise, surprise, you’ll find a massive area of land managed for driven grouse shooting. A scientific study published in 2019 showed that hen harriers are ten times more likely to disappear/be killed over areas of land managed for grouse shooting relative to other land uses.
It looks like it’s time to update that ever-increasing list of ‘missing’ and ‘confirmed dead’ hen harriers….
UPDATE 26th February 2022: 61 hen harriers confirmed illegally killed or ‘missing’ since 2018, most of them on or close to UK grouse moors (here)