Friday, 7 June 2019

Harrying the Hen Harrier

So-called 'Natural England' is reported to be planning to trial a programme of removing Hen harrier chicks from their parents, rearing them in captivity, before releasing the adult birds into 'suitable' habitat (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/06/hen-harrier-chicks-to-be-reared-in-captivity-to-placate-grouse-moor-owners). Some people have opined that the programme is actually designed to placate the owners of grouse moors who regard these birds of prey as a menace (resulting, it is claimed, in some illegal killing of the protected raptors). One has to be very careful, when hand-rearing birds of prey, that they do not become imprinted on humans meaning they cannot function as viable wild animals. It is also very possible that the chicks need to acquire some aspects of behaviour from their parent birds in order to operate normally. I am also a bit concerned by what is meant as 'suitable habitat' (do they just mean 'well away from grouse moors'?

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