Friday, 20 June 2014

GAMEKEEPERS STATEMENT: RSPB HEN HARRIER PROTECTION CALL

STATEMENT: RSPB CALLS FOR HEN HARRIER PROTECTION

An SGA Spokesman Said: “Our understanding from the case in the Cairngorms is that there is no evidence to support the RSPB’s interpretation of events and the RSPB is aware of this.
In terms of accusing grouse moors alone for the decline of Hen Harrier, the RSPB, as a bird charity, could spend donor money more wisely by assessing the bigger picture of Harrier decline and the criminal drop in the smaller, less iconic prey birds, rather than spending it on demonising gamekeepers; the vast majority of whom work within the law every day, under very trying circumstances, to produce a balance of species as well as a surplus of grouse to shoot. 
In Orkney, the Hen Harrier population declined 70 per cent from 1970, yet there are no gamekeepers or grouse moors. 
Prior to 1995, Langholm Moor was one of the most successful grouse moors in the world but became commercially unviable when a build-up of protected predators, including Hen Harriers, forced it to close and the gamekeeping staff to be withdrawn.
When the gamekeepers lost their jobs, Hen Harrier numbers dropped from 28 to 2 and the wading bird population on the moor crashed by 75 per cent. These are not people who should be demonised en masse by RSPB if we are interested in preventing Hen Harrier decline.

Diversionary feeding is supported by the SGA, which advocates legal tools for species conflicts, but faith in its deployment will depend on it being proven to work when Harrier numbers rise. As yet, there is no evidence to show this is the case.”