Wednesday, 23 September 2009

It may be considered by some as a token gesture, others might see it as a symbolic move in the right direction but news that the Holkham Estate in Norfolk have matched a reward offered by the RSPB for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting of a Common Buzzard in August should be applauded.
According to police, a postmortem of the bird revealed its body contained pellets from a shotgun cartridge. The exact location of where it was shot is unknown.
As long as the shooting and conservation lobbys remain at loggerheads the individuals perpetrating such crimes slip through under the radar all too often. Game estates and responsible shooting organisations need to do more to get the message over that wildlife crime is unacceptable and must end the culture of silence and secrecy and co-operate fully with the police in these matters.
Those involved in conservation need to recognise that landowners will seek to make profits from their assets and on moorland that means game shooting. The RSPB is right for example to be involved in the Langholm Moor Project where methods such as alternative feeding of Hen Harrier are being tested. Perhaps it's also time for government to recognise it has a role to play. If we want landowners and estates to live with and encourage biodiversity there will need to be compensation. To be honest I think many of us would be happy in the knowledge that money that would represent a tiny proportion of other subsidies was being used to remove any notional need to 'control' raptors and improve biodiversity in upland habitat
What all parties can do without however is narrow minded opportunists such as Robert Gray spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance who in an anything other than a conciliatory tone commented "We hope this marks a new era of the RSPB and shooting estates working together for the benefit of shooting and wildlife, but I am not holding my breath. It will be back to bashing gamekeepers and shoots when it needs to raise some more money."
Some folk just can't seem to get to grips with zeitgeist can they.



Stewart J said...

Maybe this guy was on holiday down there

Read from 21/7/09.

Killy Birder said...

A good post Alan, and yes I applaude the estate.

I however don't 'hold my breath' when I read statements such as you mention from the Countryside Alliance. I do also believe that there are some members involved with the RSPB and other conservation bodies that need to take a more realistic stance as to how estates are put to use. I have a friend whose family farm is used on occasions for Pheasant shooting, a perfectly legal pursuit, but you wouldn't think so from some comments I hear about game shooting! Incidently my friend is heavily involved in conservation on the farm.

On the other hand I can't accept recent comments I have read from those who say they find it hard to give information concerning illegal activity on estates because they have to 'work with these people'. These people are rotten eggs and rotten eggs turn up in all walks of life and should be shown up for what they are. In my own career I came across rotten eggs and found they were always best got rid of. Whilst esate workers and management hide behind statements like this there will always be conflict with the conservation bodies.

I'm afraid it seems to me that to knock the RSPB is a popular pastime in some quarters. Perhaps it gains popularity with peers.
Cheers Brian.