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In­ci­dent in­volv­ing armed man and de­coy bird prompts Na­tional Trust an­nounce­ment

Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Na­tional Trust with­draws grouse shoot­ing li­cence on its land in the Peak Dis­trict

Thas with­drawn a li­cence for driven grouse shoot­ing on its land over con­cerns about rap­tor per­se­cu­tion. The with­drawal fol­lows an in­ci­dent, cap­tured on cam­era by bird­watch­ers, in which an armed man ap­pears to be at­tempt­ing to at­tract a Hen Har­rier with a de­coy bird. As a re­sult, the Na­tional Trust has ter­mi­nated the shoot­ing leases at Hope Wood­lands and Park Hall in the High Peak area of the Peak Dis­trict, say­ing that they no longer had any con­fi­dence that ten­ant Mark Os­borne was com­mit­ted to the Trust’s vi­sion for the land. His lease will now ter­mi­nate four years early, in 2018, and new ten­ants will be sought to man­age the moor. Two game­keep­ers had been in­ter­viewed by po­lice in Fe­bru­ary in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent, but no charges were brought. De­spite be­ing pro­tected by law, the Hen Har­rier is the most in­ten­sively per­se­cuted rap­tor in the UK, with birds mys­te­ri­ously dis­ap­pear­ing from ar­eas in­volved with driven grouse shoot­ing ev­ery year. While the with­drawal of Mr Os­borne’s li­cence does not amount to a ban on grouse shoot­ing in the area, it does send a clear mes­sage; that the Na­tional Trust takes rap­tor per­se­cu­tion on its sites se­ri­ously.

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