the tam­ing of the pheas­ant

The Field - - QUERIES -


I have a Reeves’s pheas­ant on my land that has taken quite a dis­like to my wife, so much so that if she is out on the lawn­mower or gar­den­ing and he sees her, he tries to at­tack. Be­sides despatch­ing the ag­gres­sive bird, what can I do?”

DU, Es­sex


Mike Sawn, head of ed­u­ca­tion at the Game & Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust in Hamp­shire, says that Reeves’s pheas­ants have quite a rep­u­ta­tion for be­com­ing ag­gres­sive like this and, in his ex­pe­ri­ence, there is noth­ing to be done to calm them down. He says that in con­sid­er­ing despatch, it is worth re­flect­ing on the bird’s le­gal sta­tus un­der the Wildlife and Coun­try­side Act, 1981. Aside from a gen­eral pre­sump­tion against re­leas­ing alien species into the wild, there are a few species, and the Reeves’s pheas­ant is one of them, that it is specif­i­cally il­le­gal to lib­er­ate. This is be­cause they are known to have the po­ten­tial to form feral pop­u­la­tions and could there­fore pose a threat to na­tive wildlife. On this ba­sis, you could con­sider despatch of this bird as your moral duty to re­duce the risk of it find­ing some hens and form­ing a feral pop­u­la­tion.

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