Protesters fight Lancashire’s hen harrier loss

CAMPAIGN: Protestors at last year's event staged in Dunsop Bridge.
CAMPAIGN: Protestors at last year's event staged in Dunsop Bridge.
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A second protest meeting in support of the county’s hen harrier population will be staged in the Forest of Bowland in less than a month.

Prior to the grouse shooting season beginning on the “Glorious Twelfth” Terry Pickford, of the North West Raptor Protection Group, along with members and supporters, will gather at Dunsop Green Village Green on Sunday August 9th at 10am to protest against cruelty to the birds of prey.

I have no problem with legal shooting, but what I do have a problem with is the illegal activity that is happening to up the numbers of grouse on the moors.

Terry Pickford

Last year around 100 supporters gathered at the Hodder Valley village to show their support for the hen harrier.

Birds of prey are targeted because they prey on red grouse.

Terry said: “Ordinary shooters, who have a nine to five job are appalled at what is happening.

“I have no problem with legal shooting, but what I do have a problem with is the illegal activity that is happening to up the numbers of grouse on the moors.”

Last year only two breeding pairs of Harriers were recorded, both in the Forest of Bowland. Sadly two of the eight fledged chicks, both fitted with satellite trackers, disappeared on two adjoining red grouse moorland just three miles from their natal nesting territories on the United Utilities estate. Both chicks are now presumed to have been shot.

This year five additional male hen harriers have vanished from occupied nests on red grouse moorland in northern England, four birds from the Forest of Bowland and one additional bird from the Northern Pennines.

The protest will be opened by Daniel Marsden, chairman of the North West Raptor Protection Group. Terry Pickford will then provide a brief outline detailing the current situation relating to the loss of the male five Hen Harriers from Bowland and in the northern Pennines. Terry will then bring everyone up to date about the disappearance of Peregrine Falcons throughout Bowland, with only two successful breeding pairs recorded this year, an all time low for the last 35 years.

At around 1-30 pm, protesters will be invited to take part in a memorial hen harrier walk along the Dunsop Valley where the hen harrier used to breed, but now only memories remain. It will take around 2.5 hours and there will be an attempt to visit one of the abandoned hen harrier territories lost this season.