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Report Reveals Continued Persecution Of Birds Of Prey in UK

  • Written by Editor

Report reveals continued persecution of birds of prey in UKWithout urgent action some of UK’s birds of prey face a bleak future after the latest Birdcrime report revealed a minimum of 81 confirmed incidents of illegal raptor persecution in 2016, without a single person prosecuted.

Birdcrime 2016 – the only report summarising offences against birds of prey in the UK – revealed 40 shooting, 22 poisoning, 15 trapping and four other incidents of illegal persecution against raptors. Among the victims were hen harriers, peregrine falcons, red kites and buzzards. However, evidence suggests these figures are just the tip of the iceberg with many illegal killings going undetected or unreported.

The report also revealed close to two-thirds (53) of the confirmed incidents took place in England, with particular concern for raptors in North Yorkshire. Over the last five years the county recorded the highest number of confirmed bird of prey persecution incidents in the UK, with 54 incidents since 2012 and 19 last year alone.

The problem wasn’t confined to England, with the report highlighting confirmed case in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, where there is growing concern over the repeated suspicious disappearance of satellite tagged birds of prey. This year, a study by Scottish Government examined the fate of 131 golden eagles fitted with satellite tags between 2004-16 concluding that ‘as many as 41 (one third) disappeared, presumably died, under suspicious circumstances connected with records of illegal persecution.’

Increasingly, people in the UK are being robbed of the chance to see these spectacular birds because of these illegal incidents, yet in 2016, there wasn’t a single prosecution arising from a confirmed incident, the first time this has happened in 30 years.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “Birds of prey bring our skies to life. There is nothing like seeing a diving peregrine or a skydancing hen harrier. The sights of these spectacular birds are something we should all be able to enjoy, unfortunately illegal activity is stopping this and preventing the birds from flourishing. There are laws in place to protect these birds but they are clearly not being put into action. We need governments across the UK to do more to tackle illegal killing to protect our raptors for future generations to enjoy.”

Previous research has shown that illegal killing of birds of prey is associated with land managed for intensive driven grouse shooting, leaving vast areas of our uplands without typical breeding raptors. A Natural England study revealed ‘compelling evidence’ that persecution of hen harriers – associated with driven grouse moors - was the main factor limiting their recovery in England.

The RSPB believes the introduction of a licensing system for driven grouse shooting would help tackle the ongoing illegal persecution that occurs on these grouse moors, and protect the interests of responsible landowners. This would also help tackle the wider problems of intensive management of ‘big bag’ driven grouse shooting, like the draining of and burning on fragile peat bogs. A fair set of rules in the form of a licensing system could help ensure shoots are operating legally and sustainably and introduce the option of restricting or removing a licence in response to the most serious offences, for example where staff on an estate have been convicted of illegally killing birds of prey.

The RSPB welcomes a recent announcement by Scottish Government that will see an independent panel established to review options for regulation of grouse shooting and to look at the economic and environmental costs and benefits of the industry.

Bob Elliot, RSPB Head of Investigations, said: “This latest Birdcrime report continues to highlight that in the UK we have a major issue with birds of prey being deliberately and illegally killed, despite having full legal protection. This type of crime has serious consequences for the populations of species, such as the hen harrier, and we must see a change in attitude and more effective law enforcement to protect these birds for years to come.”

For the full copy of Birdcrime 2016 report summarising the extent of illegal persecution offences against birds of prey in the UK, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdcrime

Remember, Remember Check For Hedgehogs This November!

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Remember, Remember Check For Hedgehogs This November!The RSPCA is reminding people to keep an eye out for hedgehogs and other wildlife when lighting fires to make sure no animals are injured this Bonfire Night.

Hedgehogs and other animals often climb into piles of leaves and wood to hide, forage for food and make nests, so the animal welfare charity is urging people to check fires before they light them.

Wildlife scientific officer Llewelyn Lowen said: “While bonfires may look like large piles of leaves and wood to us, to a hedgehog and many other animals they are great places to find food and build nests.

“Sadly it’s not uncommon for burned hedgehogs to be rushed into our care after they have been caught up in a lit bonfire - and at this time of year the risk is especially high.

“Because of this we are just reminding people about the importance of taking the time to check bonfires before they are lit.”

He added: “It can be very hard to see a brown hedgehog in amongst a pile of wood, and the only way to be sure is to move the bonfire by hand before actually lighting it. It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.”

For more information about caring for hedgehogs please visit:

www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/livingwith

If you see an animal you have concerns about please call the RSPCA's emergency line on 0300 1234 999.

To donate to help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit:www.rspca.org.uk/give.

When Will The John Lewis Christmas Ad Be Released On TV?

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When Will The John Lewis Christmas Ad Be Released On TV?With Halloween behind us, our thoughts turn to 'that time of year' and the question is - when will we see the John Lewis Christmas advert on tv?

The retailer's Christmas advert has become a festive must-see with Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer biting at their heels in the Christmas campaign world.

From trampolining Boxer dogs to love-struck penguins, the adverts have had us both laughing and in tears and in just a few days time it is set to do it all again.

The company is remaining tight-lipped about the scheduled release date but judging by previous years, many predict the advert will be teased this Thursday, 2nd November and will air on television on Friday, 3rd November.

No-one knows yet what song will be used in the advertisement but it is worth remembering that the artist tends to chart highly in the UK singles chart following the advertisment release. This has led to fevered speculation about which song will be covered this year. Many are predicting a tribute to George Michael following his untimely death on Christmas day 2016.

Will we need a hanky?

 

It's Wild About Gardens Week! What can you do to help the UK's precious pollinators?

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It's Wild About Gardens Week! What can you do to help the UK's precious pollinators?It's Wild About Gardens Week, a national celebration of the English garden, country or otherwise. Whether you have a window box or 100 acres, your patch is part of a network of 15 million gardens that criss-cross the UK. Put together, they cover an area seven times the size of the Isle of Wight! This year, we’re calling on you to ‘bee friendly’ in your garden and do your bit for our delightful and very important bees.

Without these busy little pollinators we would be unable to grow many of our favourite foods. The tomato salad would be a thing of the past, as would colourful wildflower meadows and the sheer joy of watching a bumblebee hop from flower to flower on a warm, summer afternoon.

Intensive land use has resulted in substantial of bees’ natural habitat, and harmful insecticides and herbicides have also been linked to a steep decline in bee numbers. For these reasons it is more important than ever that we step up for bees and do what we can to help them. Your garden has the potential to serve as an excellent habitat for wild bees, and the wonderful thing is that you needn’t wait until summer to take action - you can help bees all year round!

Autumn

As the leaves fall, so do old bumblebee colonies; after a busy season serving their queen, they slip their mortal coil and die, leaving their newly-mated bumblebee sovereign to find a safe place to hibernate. Holes in the ground and compost heaps are popular hibernation spots, but if you want to provide an alternative, you could create a log pile. Log piles containing twigs, moss and leaves provide the perfect place for a bee to take shelter.

Winter

One of the best ways to help wild bees during the winter is to provide them with a range of foraging opportunities. Although most species are in hibernation at this time of year, some bees are still active – you can help them by planting winter-flowering plants such as crocus and hellebore.

Spring

After a long winter of hibernation, bees are starting to rear their heads and venture out of their hideaways in search of food. They promptly start work, gathering nectar and pollen to feed their emerging brood. One way you can help them is to retain old fruit trees, as they produce lots of life-giving nectar and pollen-rich blossom.

Summer

Bees need to drink too! Providing fresh water by submerging a few rocks in your birdbath so that bees can reach the water, or sinking a shallow pot of water into the ground will make a refreshing rest-stop for a thirsty bee.

For more information and ideas, download the ‘wild bee action kit’ at:

http://wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk/home/wild-bee-action-kit