Wildlife protection hot and cold!


We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).
Wildlife Protection

Wildlife protection hot and cold!

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Hi All,

As i'm sure most of you are aware there has been some pretty bad stuff out there happening to the birds and wildlife that has made the news - both locally and nationally in recent days.

Red kites poisoning in the Chilterns http://www.rspb.org.uk/media/releases/313401-police-appeal-after-red-kites-illegally-poisoned-in-the-chilterns

Goshawk nest destroyed in the Peak District  http://www.rspb.org.uk/media/releases/313396-outrage-at-peak-district-bird-of-prey-persecution

Ducks found dead in Cambridgeshire http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Dead-ducklings-found-after-riverbank-mown-08052012.htm

Dead Geese in Cambridgeshire http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Dead-birds-everywhere-after-geese-shot-in-cull-09052012.htm

Now firstly let me make this clear, I am NOT one of the people who is in the culling Birds of Prey camp, and I know that the ducks were not maliciously killed and  I am also aware of the numbers of these birds in the country, however...

As it's illegal to destoy the nest or kill birds during the breeding season why are the bird of prey crimes classified as major and the duck nest incident addressed "Dissapointing" according to the RSPCA.

The people who mowed the grass did so 6 weeks before they needed to and were advised against doing so, there was no assesment done to see what damage would be caused by cutting this early and they just went ahead and cut. There may be a lot more wildlife harmed by this activity including more nests. This in my eyes is also a major crime against wildlife and someone somewhere shouldf be made accountable.

Regarding shooting geese, then leaving them lying around is also an act against the law as I see it, these birds were most probably born in the wild and may well be breeding locally, shooting season is out as far as I know and he obviously took this matter into his own hands, again I believe a crime was committed.

To be fair the RSPB is not mentioned in either of the Cambridge articles and as such may not be wholy aware of these events. I just don't understand that one crime rewards and convictions are possible and others are just "Dissapointing"

Would this be treated the same if the female duck killed and nest destroyed on the riverbank belonged to a raptor?

Surely it's time to start holding all law breakers to account and if that means making an example of them I'm all up for that.


All Replies
  • Well yes - but......

    Yes, all law breakers committing crimes against wildlife need to brought to account (and if I was in charge the penalties would be eye-wateringly severe) but there is the matter of proportionality.

    Any crime against a Schedule 1 species (and there are plenty that aren't raptors) is likely to stimulate a more robust response from the conservation bodies and law enforcement agencies than an isolated attack on, say, a blackbird. Resources to pursue law breakers are finite and there has to be prioritisation.

    The RSBP prioritises raptor persecution because this goes on so frequently and routinely, and is carried out by "interests" that clearly see themselves as above the law. Hen Harriers are on their way to extinction as an English breeding species but most ducks and geese aren't.

    There are also ecological reasons for wanting to conserve raptors particularly. At the apex of the food web they act as sensitive indicators of things going wrong in the layers below. The insidious effects of organo-chloride pesticides in the food web came to light when Peregrine and Sparrowhawk numbers crashed in the post war period.

    The duck mowing wasn't a malicious act, and the Geese cull was carried out within the law so I wouldn't expect the RSPB to wade in with all guns blazing. They have to choose their battles wisely.....

  • May I say that was very well put John B and you are quite right as to priorites, and we must remember it was not that long ago that corncrakes were been mown down, and it was the intervention of the aurhorites that started to enlighten farmers regarding best time to mow, and if possible from the centre outward, to give the birds & animals time to move out of the fields. Jan

  • I understand the argument but I just think more needs to be done to bring wildlife crime to the forefront. In most cases the perpetraitor gets away scot free.

    I just think that someone refused to take advice from people in the know regarding the duck case, cut the grass too early and didn't do the proper assesments, the duck could have been any bird.

    Some aspects have changed and for the better but it's still a hot and cold subject.


    Here is another story of where signs have been put up to protect the bird has been disregarded and the system is failing.

    No reports of a crime committed here just "regrettable"..... Is that really good enough?  Many people put their money, time effort and passion into conserving wildlife and habitat for idiots to come along and ruin it.  What would have been said if this was another walkers dog that was kept on a short lead instead of a red status bird? I would think it to be more than "Regrettable"


  • You do have to understand that to some people(not many thank goodness) notices do not apply to them or their dogs.I have come across this in an official position yet still you get a mouthful of abuse if you mention things to them.

  • I completely agree, some people are either ignorant or stupid! I saw one guy and his family arrive in a very quiet hide at an Avon Wildlife Trust reserve on monday, have no respect for others inside and carry on with his conversation with his family, see a barn owl and decide that as there was a life ring the other side of the lake where the barn owl had gone so there had to be access. Signs everywhere telling people the footpaths were out of use because of breeding birds! Still they didn't mind climbing all the gates as we saw them not long after over at the other side of the lake!

    Idiots, and their kids will probably grow up to be as ignorant too.

    I felt like saying something but with the attitude they showed to us inside the hide I would have been ignored or verbally abused.


  • A few years back dog walkers got organised and  collectively sabotaged attempts by a Government body to introduce management measures aimed at conserving ground nesting birds across an internationally important wildlife area festooned with European and UK protective designations. It was one of the most depressing episodes in my nature related career to date.....

  • I seem to recall that JohnB,trouble is together they would be such a force that no government would risk losing so many votes.The trouble is most dog owners are great but as usual it is the minority.