Defra pub­lishes Hen Har­rier Ac­tion Plan

Sporting Shooter - - News -

The Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food & Ru­ral Affairs (Defra) has pub­lished the long-awaited Hen Har­rier Ac­tion Plan, which aims to en­force and co­or­di­nate a con­sis­tent and strate­gic ap­proach to the con­ser­va­tion of th­ese birds.

De­vel­oped by Defra in con­junc­tion with the Game & Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust, the Na­tional Game­keep­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Moor­land As­so­ci­a­tion, RSPB and Na­tional Parks UK, it is hoped that the plan will help the hen har­rier to es­tab­lish a self-sus­tain­ing and welld­is­persed breed­ing pop­u­la­tion in both up­land and low­land Eng­land.

The six pro­pos­als out­lined in the plan are as fol­lows: to mon­i­tor the num­bers of hen har­ri­ers in the UK and Eng­land via satel­lite tag­ging and track­ing; to share best prac­tice with land man­agers and game­keep­ers, en­cour­ag­ing pro­vi­sion of food for the birds of prey; to work with the Rap­tor Per­se­cu­tion Pri­or­ity De­liv­ery Group to an­a­lyse in­tel­li­gence on per­se­cu­tion and de­liver more ef­fec­tive en­force­ment and de­ter­rence mea­sures; to mon­i­tor/pro­tect nests and win­ter roosts from dis­tur­bance and dam­age; to work with landown­ers to rein­tro­duce the birds to suit­able ar­eas in the south of Eng­land; and to scope out the pos­si­bil­ity of tri­alling brood man­age­ment.

The Coun­try­side Al­liance com­mended the ad­vance­ment, stat­ing: “We be­lieve the plan will go a long way to re­solv­ing one of the most di­vi­sive is­sues in up­land con­ser­va­tion, and help bring to­gether all those who care deeply about the fu­ture of the up­lands.

“We have al­ways been clear that for any plan to be suc­cess­ful it must ad­dress the causes of il­le­gal per­se­cu­tion, as well as tack­ling per­se­cu­tion it­self. Whilst there was never any ex­cuse for il­le­gal killing, the pro­pos­als for brood man­age­ment, which has been used suc­cess­fully for the rein­tro­duc­tion of other species such as the red kite and sea ea­gle, re­moves real con­cerns about the im­pact of colonies of hen har­ri­ers on grouse moors. The ma­jor­ity of hen har­ri­ers that do cur­rently breed in Eng­land nest on or ad­ja­cent to grouse moors.”

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