Statement from Chief Executive, Sarah Fowler: Peak District Bird of Prey Report 2018
Monday 17 December 2018
Responding to the recently published Peak District Bird of Prey Report (2018), National Park chief executive, Sarah Fowler said:
"This most recent season has seen an improvement in the breeding results of some raptor species including peregrine, within the moorlands of the Peak District National Park after a notably poor year in 2017. In parallel there has been a welcome increase in the number of gamekeepers and estates engaging positively with the Bird of Prey Initiative. However, 2018 was still fairly typical of the 7-year period of the Initiative and numbers remain well below the targets set based on populations in the late 1990s.
"I am particularly saddened that the hard work of the 2018 season was overshadowed by a report of a seemingly senseless attack on a red kite in the Peak District uplands this summer, two incidents concerning owl species in the autumn, and the disappearance of a satellite-tracked juvenile hen harrier within the National Park from the only nest of hen harriers recorded in the Peak District this year.
"In recent weeks, it has also been confirmed that another satellite-tagged hen harrier from this nest – two of the four birds fledged – has now also disappeared within the uplands of the North York Moors National Park. Whilst a number of scenarios remain possible for the loss of these tracked birds, initial investigations suggest that illegal wildlife crime activity cannot be ruled out.
"Any loss of birds of prey through deliberate and criminal activity has no place in our National Parks in the 21st century.
"We will continue to work with police wildlife crime teams - including through the recently announced Countryside Watch Initiative in Derbyshire - and alongside our partners to deliver the year-on-year increase in birds of prey that the Peak District National Park deserves."