Hen Harriers (not) in Bowland

Six more satellite-tagged hen harriers ‘disappear’ in suspicious circumstances

Six more satellite-tagged hen harriers have gone missing in suspicious circumstances, according to the most recent data published by Natural England last Friday, 4th March.

Natural England’s previous hen harrier update, published in December 2021 (here), identified three other tagged harriers that had vanished in the summer/autumn of 2021.

Now there are six more. Three disappeared in November 2021, one in December 2021 and two in January 2022. Neither the police or Natural England have issued any media press releases or made any public appeals for information about any of them.

[Photo by Dave Soons]

Here are the details of the latest six to vanish, in chronological order:

Brood meddled hen harrier R2-F1-20, female, hatched in 2020 at nest site BM R2 Cumbria, last known satellite tag fix on the edge of a grouse moor (believed to be on Arkengarthdale Estate) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park on 15th November 2021, grid ref: NY959039.

Hen harrier Val (Tag ID 213849), female, hatched in North Pennines in 2021, last known satellite tag fix in Cumbria, west of Coniston Water on 19th November 2021, grid ref: SD256921.

Hen harrier Percy (Tag ID 213847), male, hatched in Northumberland (nest site Northumberland 1) in 2021, last known satellite tag fix in the Scottish Borders nr Fala Moor on 19th November 2021, grid ref: NT410615.

Hen harrier Jasmine (Tag ID 213848), female, hatched in Cumbria in 2021, last known satellite tag fix on a grouse moor (High Rigg Moor, Middlesmoor Estate) in the Nidderdale AONB, North Yorkshire on 12th December 2021, grid ref: SE034733.

Hen harrier Ethel (Tag ID 213852), female, hatched in Northumberland (nest site Northumberland 2) in 2021, last known satellite tag fix in Hexham on 9th January 2022, grid ref: NY936632.

Hen harrier Amelia (Tag ID 213846), female, hatched Bowland in 2021, last known satellite tag fix in Bowland on 26th January 2022, no grid reference provided.

These suspicious disappearances are no longer shocking, not even when six of them are reported at the same time.

The complete lack of media appeals about any of them from Natural England and the various police forces is no longer shocking.

The lack of prominence in the recent update blog that Natural England has given these latest disappearances is no longer shocking.

The zero prospect of any so-called investigation progressing to a prosecution is no longer shocking.

The complete silence from the grouse-shooting industry about this continued organised crime is no longer shocking.

It’s all just so routine, isn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be. It’s up to you, as blog readers, to bring this scandal to the attention of your elected representative(s) and demand that they put pressure on the Government to take action.

I’ll update the ever-increasing list of hen harriers known to have been illegally killed in the UK or that have vanished in suspicious disappearances since 2018, most of them on or close to grouse moors, and will post it here shortly. It would be good if you could then send that list to your local MP so they can’t claim to be ignorant of what’s going on.