A rare visi­tor bright­ens up darker pic­ture

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

IT’S a good news, bad news week.

Firstly some dis­turb­ing news con­cern­ing grouse moors, and se­condly some­thing to brighten your mood, with news of one of the UK’s rarest birds nest­ing just two hours’ drive from Al­bert Square.

The RSPB’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Dr Mike Clarke, has called on those within the shoot­ing in­dus­try to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for both the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive im­pacts their in­dus­try has on the wider public in­ter­est, in­clud­ing bio­di­ver­sity and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

In a speech at the CLA Game Fair last week, Dr Clarke said: “There are two key trends in par­tic­u­lar. First, is the con­tin­u­ing in­crease in game-birds re­leased into the en­vi­ron­ment, now well over 50 mil­lion birds a year.

“It is eco­log­i­cally naive (at best!) to think that you can in­tro­duce this amount of biomass – of a sim­i­lar mag­ni­tude to the biomass of all the wild birds in the coun­try­side – with­out any im­pact on na­tive species pop­u­la­tions and food webs.

“Se­condly, there is a marked in­crease in the in­ten­sity of man­age­ment on some driven grouse moors in the up­lands, es­pe­cially in Eng­land.

“As many of us know, our up­lands are some of our most iconic land­scapes, both for ser­vices they give peo­ple – such as wa­ter and as a car­bon store – and for wildlife.”

One of the in­ten­sive man­age­ment prac­tices car­ried out on some driven grouse moors is ro­ta­tional burn­ing of heather. Last week, a study led by the RSPB Cen­tre for Con­ser­va­tion Science re­vealed the ex­tent of moor­land burn­ing across Bri­tain’s up­land ar­eas and the dam­age it can cause.

Burn­ing on moor­lands,

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glos­sop

●● A bee-eater makes a catch

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