Save the Hen Harrier Campaign
National Trust terminate grouse-shooting lease in Peak District
The campaign to save the hen harrier from extinction in England has received a major boost following the groundbreaking decision by the National Trust to terminate a grouse-shooting lease on its land in the Peak District.
The move has come after birdwatchers in the Peak District earlier this year by chance filmed an armed man on a National Trust-owned grouse moor who apparently was trying to attract a protected hen harrier by using a decoy bird.
It is widely believed that the decoy was being used to lure in real hen harriers to possibly trap or shoot them.
Folllowing the incident the National Trust received a large number of complaints from members of the public and subsequently launched an investigation which has resulted in the trust terminating the shooting leases at two of its Peak District estates.
In a statement, Andy Beer National Trust’s Director for the Midlands, said:
“We have a clear vision for land management and wildlife restoration on the High Peak Moors which was developed in full consultation with our tenants and other key stakeholders.
However, in this case we have decided, after a meeting with the tenant, that we should revoke the lease four years early as it became clear that we could no longer have confidence that they were committed to the delivery of our vision for the land.”
“When considering renewals of individual shooting leases in future we will take into careful account the extent to which our objectives have been met, in particular relating to increasing raptor populations.”
Major victory for campaign
Whilst the National Trust will still allow grouse-shooting on its land, campaigners are hailing the move as a major victory.
Wildlife blogger Mark Avery is campaigning for an end to intensive grouse shooting:
“The National Trust are moving towards a much more sustainable upland ecology. It's their land, which they hold in trust for us all and it's good to see them taking a firm line with shooting tenants who aren't heading in the same direction. I hope others will follow suit.”
The online campaign group Raptor Persecution added that:
"Basically the National Trust is saying that it will no longer tolerate the illegal persecution of raptors, whether suspected or actual, on land that it leases to grouse-shooting tenants."
Hen Harrier Day 2016
The National Trust decision comes as surveys show that 2016 is heading to be one of the worst years on record for the successful breeding of hen harriers in England with hardly any birds attempting to nest.
Campaigners are now gearing up for the third annual Hen Harrier Day which this year is being held on August 7th. With events being held around the UK, the day is designed to highlight the continued illegal persecution of one of the UK's most iconic birds of prey.
You can sign the e-petition here to ban driven grouse shooting, an activity which often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including hen harriers.
We feature Save the Hen Harrier in our campaigns section.