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Protest group fight to save hen harriers

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Hundreds of supporters braved a torrential downpour in support of the county’s hen harrier population.

As grouse shooting season begins today on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ Terry Pickford, of the North West Raptor Protection Group, along with members and supporters, gathered at Dunsop Green Village Green to protest against cruelty to the birds of prey.

Terry said: “Hen harriers are the most threatened bird of prey in the country.

“We all got soaked but there were about 100 supporters who were appalled at what they heard and were keen to do something about it.

“If we don’t protect the hen harriers now, our grandchildren will never see them in the wild.”

Marking the first national “Hen Harrier Day”, Sunday saw a number of groups send out a peaceful but clear message that people were no longer prepared to tolerate the killing of the birds of prey, which 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.”

A spokesman from the RSPB said: “At the moment there are three nesting pairs of hen harriers in the whole of England, when really, there should be around 300.

“Two of the nests on the Forest of Bowland site were under 24-hour protection by staff and volunteers at one point.”

They added: “Because of on-going persecution that could be associated with driven grouse management where the birds are either being shot or they are having their nests disturbed, the species is on the brink of extinction.”

Grouse shooting days can be held until December 10.

Only the surplus population is shot to ensure a healthy population for the next year.

 

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