Thursday, 5 June 2014

License To Kill.

The Buzzard is a fully protected bird of prey, and whilst it is now on the Green List and regarded as the most common and widespread of all our raptors, it is still recovering from sustained historical persecution, which saw the bird lose much of its UK population and range.  Yet Natural England as the UK Government's nature conservation agency, is again considering a licence application to trap and shoot Buzzards to protect young Pheasants.   

A new application has been made to cage-trap and shoot Buzzards across four sites to prevent 'serious damage' to Pheasant poults. The same applicant is known to have sought licences to control Buzzards in previous years even though they have - and there is - no convincing evidence to justify issuing licences for the control of Buzzards in the name of protection for game-birds. 

But surely there are a variety of ways to prevent young Pheasants being killed by anything. Can't these people create cover for the gamebirds, or install other safe deterrents to keep predators away. Defra should be called upon to give clear guidance to Natural England to reject all licences to control Buzzards by a means that can only be described as wildlife crime....Are Natural England really considering granting a license for that. 

Last year Natural England granted licences to control Buzzards at a chicken farm, and at a Pheasant shoot, the first time such licences had been issued....'Unnatural England' as far as I'm concerned. But I hope they are going to reject this application to play their part in the protection of our birds of prey as opposed to granting permission to kill them.

The RSPB are well aware of this application and the sites involved, perhaps they should publish this to give birders like you and me a clear understanding of where these people are actively operating within the shooting business so that we can at least be alert to the dangers of illegal activities including killing wild and protected birds.


Richard Pegler said...

My own personal experiences of Natural England are not good. I'm actually starting to wonder if they're a covert organisation with a remit to overcome the conservationist movement. They supported a wind turbine application (that I was opposing), stating that the estimated mortality rate it would cause for Short-eared Owls would be only 20% and this was acceptable!

Pete Woodruff said...

Natural England have now rejected this application Richard. But worth noting is the fact they considered it and found it didn't meet the criteria to qualify. Sounds like there was always the possibility of a license being granted by Natural England to me, in fat one was granted last year to the shooting industry by the very same Natural England.

Thanks for your contribution Richard.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Brilliant photos, indeed!