Hen Harrier Brood Management Trial

The NGO has wholeheartedly welcomed Nautral England’s “clear thinking” in announcing, (16 January 2018), that it is to license a brood management trial for hen harriers in the northern uplands of England.

NGO Hen Harrier

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) has wholeheartedly welcomed Natural England’s “clear thinking” in announcing (16 January 2018) that it is to license a brood management trial for hen harriers in the northern uplands of England. The project has the clear and stated aim of increasing the population of this iconic raptor species. The NE licence will initially run to 16 January 2020.

Brood management is one of the six strategies Defra set out in its 2016 Joint Hen Harrier Action Plan to boost hen harrier numbers. The NGO was one of a number of stakeholder groups involved in developing the action plan.

NE, which manages the wildlife licensing system on behalf of Defra, is to allow brood management to be conducted on moors in County Durham, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and West Yorkshire. Brood management will only take place with the permission of the landowner.

The NE licence permits the removal of hen harrier eggs and/or chicks to a dedicated hatching and rearing facility, where they will be hand-reared in captivity, before being transferred to specially-constructed pens in hen harrier breeding habitat, from which they are then re-introduced into the wild in the uplands of northern England. This intervention may only occur where hen harrier nests have reached an agreed density.

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation said: “The NGO wholeheartedly welcomes Natural England’s clear thinking in putting conservation ahead of the cant of the naysayers by doing what is best for the conservation status of this iconic upland bird species.

We feel this licensed brood management trial will help to secure a future for the hen harrier in England, partly by breaking the logjam whereby some conservation organisations have for far too long put their own agendas ahead of the conservation needs of this raptor species. We ask that these groups now put their differences aside and get behind this trial for the mutual benefit of the hen harrier and the other wildlife with which it shares the moorland environment.

Gamekeepers know successful conservation isn’t about ideology but comes from putting science and practical measures into action. The announcement of this trial is a perfect example of intelligent, real world, real time conservation winning out over sloppy, skewed thinking; it is a victory both for the hen harrier and for common sense.”

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