Hen Harrier Day 2017 – the fight goes on

There are, it seems, two types of people in this world. Those who help and protect our wildlife, nature and special landscapes and those who not only are apathetic and careless but those who actually go out of their way to prevent justice and punishment to those who are illegally destroying our sacred species – the worst type of person. 

Almost a year ago, I wrote a Hen Harrier/Skydancer awareness blog and I was delighted to come into contact with the former, they inspire, encourage and their joy and passion are infectious and life affirming. I had never seen a Hen Harrier when I wrote that blog, now I have been blessed to see them on multiple occasions, thanks to those doing amazing work here in Northern Ireland. 

This photo was taken at last years’ Hen Harrier Day. 

Last week, after being shown so many examples of the latter in the past; I was stunned by the depths of cover up, complacency and downright disregard of our protected yet persecuted Hen Harrier. A video which was finally released after months of trial and tribulation, showing a blatant act of wildlife crime was found not to be admissible as evidence for prosecution. I was stunned, shocked and despairing. I punched a fair few pillows and my anger turned to tears and now to the way I fight best, with words. 

Above is the video, can you tell me what this shows? Can you tell me how this is not clear and admissible evidence?! The Crown dropped all charges and the perpetrator walked free. This shooting by a gamekeeper likely to be involved in the grouse shooting industry has got away with it. What does this suggest? That hey, wildlife crime and evidence that shows it happening is OK. Well, that’s what it suggests to me. Why have laws and acts which apparently protect our wildlife if they are flaunted and disregarded. A Hen Harrier lovingly guarding its nest at Cabrach Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland was blasted from the sky after she was flushed from her nest by the gamekeeper shown. So, not only did this Hen Harrier die, but any chance of future generations of this almost extinct bird, died with her. 

One of our precious Hen Harriers here in Fermanagh. 

Our Northern Ireland Hen Harrier Day date has been finalised as Saturday 5th August at Glenariff in Co Antrim. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure our voices are heard and that our message is clear. We will not accept this persecution and criminal behaviour any longer. This has gone too far, it screams conspiracy to me because honestly I can’t think of any other reason why evidence, given by RSPB nest recorders on Hen Harrier nest watch – these were legal and official recorders – could be thrown out of court. You can a read more in depth response to the case from the RSPB – Here It is grim but important reading. 

Please stand with me and echo our message of action against Raptor persecution and cruelty. Please. We need everyone to stand tall and loud. 

Please check out Birders Against Wildlife Crime’s website for details of your local Hen Harrier Day and join the fight against wildlife crime! I may be young, but I have voice. I plan to use it and so should you. 

Thanks for reading 


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6 Responses

  1. I can understand your reluctance to listen to yourself on the radio, Dara, but Jeff P’s mention enabled me to listen – well done; so evocative! I thoroughly enjoyed your ‘Tweet’ 🙂 And the link includes the closing sentences of the report before Tweet of the Day – RSPB on the tremendous difficulties in prosecuting those who persecute hen harriers. Very timely!

    1. Yes, Sandra that was really timely although it’s been edited now I believe, which is a shame. I did listen to myself, behind a pillow with hands over ears the first time. Then mum encouraged me to listen properly and so to be proud of myself. I am. ☺️

  2. Oh, I’m so glad you were able to listen, Dara. You are right to be proud.

    (What a pity about that editing though…)


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