Friday, 1 June 2012

Good News for Buzzards

In the last week the government has been making quite a lot of turn arounds on unpopular policies. There have been at least three U-turns on budget policies but the one I find weirdest (and best) is the reversal of Defra's new plans for buzzard control. 

Only last week the government released it's new plans to capture adult buzzards and destroy buzzard nests to protect the small percentage of the non native, captive bred pheasants that are killed and eaten each year. In the current economic climate spending £375,000 to protect a relatively small industry seems slightly strange and conservation groups were at first stunned and then very angry about the proposals. But it wasn't just the NGOs that were set in motion, thousands of members of the public have sign petitions and make their voices heard in angry against the new proposals.

And we have been heard as on Wednesday the government backed down and said that 
Nests won't be destroyed and adult buzzards won't be taken into captivity around shooting estates..

This is fantastic news and I hope the government will spend that spare £375,000 on helping the almost extinct Hen Harrier recover. Independent government funded studies have shown that the English uplands could support at least 300 pairs of breeding hen harriers but last year there were only 4 successful nests and this year there has only been one pair attempting to nest. None has started nesting in the forest of Bowland, the hen harriers stronghold for decades. The government has committed itself to prevent any further man mad extinctions on our shores, but they are getting very very close to failing at this. Let's hope, like for the buzzard, the future is brighter for hen harriers.

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