Hen harriers are 'on brink of extinction in England,' says RSPB

 

Emily Beament
Friday 09 August 2013 08:23
Comments

Hen harriers have failed to nest successfully in England for the first time since the 1960s, conservationists have said.

The failure of the only two pairs that which attempted to nest in northern England this year has left the bird of prey, which has been subject to long-term persecution, on the brink of extinction here, the RSPB said.

At one of the two sites where hen harriers nested, the wildlife charity was working with the landowner to ensure the nest was protected, but the eggs did not hatch. It is not known why the other nest failed.

The hen harrier was once widespread across the UK but became extinct in mainland Britain around 1900, the RSPB said. Changes in land use and decline in persecution allowed the bird to spread from populations on Scottish islands, reaching England after the Second World War.

A study by government scientists has suggested there is capacity for England’s upland areas to support more than 300 pairs of hen harriers, but illegal persecution through shooting, trapping and disturbing nests was keeping numbers low.

RSPB conservation director Martin Harper said: “The latest news is a huge set-back and only a victory for those who want to see this bird of prey disappear from England’s skies, but we will continue to fight to ensure that this bird has a future in some of our most iconic landscapes.”

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in