The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), a world renowned charity concerned with the conservation wild bird populations in the UK and around the globe, today ended its involvement with the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative, citing the project’s continued failure to improve the fortunes of raptors in Dark Peak.
The Dark Peak is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest designated for its animals and plants including the globally threatened hen harrier.
Richard Barnard, the RSPB’s Area Conservation Manager for Yorkshire and the Peak District, said: “We have committed a lot of time and energy to make this project a success but it’s clear that this is not going to happen. Despite five years of monitoring data, and the presentation of clear evidence from local raptor groups and the RSPB, some members of the group are still failing to acknowledge that the main reason birds of prey are doing so badly in the Dark Peak is because of illegal persecution such as shooting, trapping and poisoning. By refusing to admit the scale of the problem, and its clear link with land used for driven grouse shooting, which is highlighted in numerous studies and reports, these members have frustrated any possibility of progress.”
The move follows numerous confirmed incidents against birds of prey and serious declines of several raptor species, such as goshawks and hen harriers, which points towards sustained and widespread illegal persecution in the area.