Golden Eagles, Persecution and Double Standards

Bald Eagle (left) vs Golden Eagle (rigtht)
Bald Eagle (left) vs Golden Eagle (rigtht)
Countryside Alliance
Countryside Alliance

London, UK -( News that the Norwegian Government has sanctioned a trial cull of golden eagles because of predation on lambs and reindeer calves may seem surprising on this side of the North Sea, but eagle populations are being actively managed in the UK too.

Dozens of wild golden eagle chicks have been taken from Scotland to Ireland as part of a reintroduction program.

As we know, public perception of such management in the UK depends hugely on the species involved, as well as the purpose and type of management, rather than any actual impact on overall populations or conservation status.

The management of raptors has been considered completely unthinkable, whilst other bird species such as cormorants and wood pigeons are culled to protect economic interests without any public outcry. And of course you only have to compare the public and ‘conservationist’ outcry over the Government’s badger cull trials to the massive culls of other mammals such as deer and foxes to understand how irrational public attitudes to wildlife management can be.

Attitudes in Government are, however, changing. In some part that has been the result of the successful court action brought by the National Gamekeepers Organisation, which has forced Natural England to consider applications for raptors in the same terms as it would consider those to manage other species. In part it has been the result of the need to find solutions to long running conflicts such as that of upland management and hen harriers. In part it has also been necessitated by the huge growth in raptor numbers.

One thing is certain, however, and that is that any progress made in bringing logic to wildlife management policy is hindered every time somebody acts outside the law.

In the last few weeks a gamekeeper in Yorkshire has been cautioned for using traps illegally and there have been press reports of a number of red kites being shot.

Such behaviour is completely unacceptable and it is incumbent on everyone who has the interests of shooting and the countryside at heart that not only should they condemn such activity but also ensure they do everything possible to bring those who commit such crimes to justice. The Countryside Alliance is a member of the Partnership against Wildlife Crime and we are committed to ensuring that those who accept the responsibility of managing our wildlife do so transparently and within the law.

Tim Bonner
Chief Executive
Follow on Twitter @CA_TimB

About Countryside Alliance:

The Countryside Alliance is known for its work on wildlife and management, but its agenda is far broader than that incorporating food & farming, local businesses and services and the injustices of poor mobile phone signal and broadband in the countryside. We are anything but a single issue organisation and represent the interests of country people from all backgrounds and geographical locations. With around 100,000 members the Countryside Alliance promotes and protects rural life at Parliament, in the media and on the ground. Our vision is a future for the countryside which both preserves its traditional values and promotes a thriving rural community and economy; a countryside sustainably managed and sustainably enjoyed; a countryside where rural communities have equal access to the facilities and services enjoyed in urban communities; a countryside where people can pursue their businesses, activities and lives in a society that appreciates and understands their way of life.

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