The Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership is shocked to hear of this apparently deliberate destruction of a hen harrier nest containing four chicks in the Whernside area of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The group condemns raptor persecution in the strongest possible terms and agrees with North Yorkshire Police that there is no place for the selfish and illegal killing of wildlife in our countryside. All birds of prey are protected by law and killing them is a criminal offence.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 and quote incident reference number 12220107140, log it online via the North Yorkshire Police website, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The group recognises more work needs to be done to address the challenges faced by bird of prey populations in the Yorkshire Dales and in the continued efforts to stamp out raptor persecution. This incident is particularly disappointing given the encouraging breeding success of hen harriers this year and the focused efforts going on in the area to help rebuild the population.
The Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership
The Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plans include objectives to tackle the illegal persecution of birds of prey and owls. This involves working closely with landowners, moorland managers, the Police and other key stakeholders to devise and implement a local approach to end illegal persecution of raptors.
Given the comparable management plan objectives, the same issues affecting bird of prey populations in both protected landscapes, and the two areas comprising a contiguous area of similar upland habitat, a joint steering group was established in 2019 comprising a broad coalition of partners with a shared commitment to bird of prey conservation.
The group includes representatives from British Association for Shooting & Conservation, Country Land & Business Association, Cumbria Constabulary, The Moorland Association, National Gamekeepers Organisation, Natural England, Nidderdale AONB, North Yorkshire Police, Northern England Raptor Forum, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.
Natural England is the lead organisation for the delivery of the management plan objective in the National Park. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority provides the Chair and Secretariat for the steering group as a whole.
The group aims to publish an annual report summarising bird of prey population status, monitoring and protection efforts, and confirmed persecution incidents in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The first report was published in March and provides a baseline from which progress can be measured over the coming years.