TV naturalist Chris Packham has joined forces with environmental campaigner Dr Mark Avery to launch an online campaign to encourage people to sign an e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.
Campaigners say that grouse shooting for 'sport' depends on intensive habitat management which increases flood risk and greenhouse gas emissions, relies on killing Foxes, Stoats, Mountain Hares in large numbers and often leads to the deliberate illegal killing of protected birds of prey including Hen Harriers.
Chris told Bird Watching magazine: “Like many other birders I grew up thinking that the persecution of our birds of prey would become a thing of the past in my lifetime. But sadly that is not the case, indeed in recent times it’s actually begun to get worse.
“And it’s illegal, a crime, and yet even if the perpetrators are dragged into court the sentences are paltry. Why are there less than a handful of Hen Harrier breeding in England . . . well, it’s simple – they are killed on grouse moors. Why is the population of Golden Eagles not spreading . . . again it’s simple, because they are killed on grouse moors.”
Chris added that attempts to work with shooting groups to reach a compromise had failed.
He said: “For years, conservationists have tried to liaise with, work with, compromise with this part of the shooting fraternity. But this has failed, wholesale, and so I have run out of patience and we have run out of time. That’s why I am a signatory to the petition to ban driven grouse shooting. If you want the UK’s young birders to enjoy the raptors we should have then can I please ask you to think about signing it too.”
The petition can be found at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/125003
Chris has produced videos outlining the campaign which you can watch here:
Video 1 – The Real Price of Grouse
Video 2 - The Real Price of Grouse: An Introduction to Driven Grouse Shooting
Video 3 - The Real Price of Grouse: Greenhouse Gases
VIDEO 4 – THE REAL PRICE OF GROUSE: TRAPS
The Hen Harrier Life+ Project has identified important new Hen Harrier roosting sites on Salisbury Plain. Following the progress of a Hen Harrier chick fitted with a satellite tag last year, the project tracked the bird to Ministry of Defence land on Salisbury Plain, where the bird remained for several weeks before migrating to mainland Europe.
The MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation has been working for many years to help tenants on MoD land to implement measures to help, and will be using the new information to improve matters further.
The Hen Harrier is one of England’s most endangered birds of prey, with only six successful nests last year in the entire country, mainly due to illegal persecution of the species.