As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

It's easy to see to see why native wildlife is in decline

I read the article about farmers and wildlife charities joining forces to bring back the lapwing. 

Lapwings have suffered a catastrophic decline over the last 30 years. Why another costly study? Since 2007, the RSPB has been working to maintain and strengthen the largest remaining population of breeding lapwings of the Welsh uplands in Hiraethog. The project aims to attract more pairs to breed, while also learning lessons about the best ways to manage the land for nesting adults and chicks. Thanks to the help of farmers and partner organisations, Habitat management work has been carried out on 15 farms. This includes targeted grazing and creating more suitable habitats for chicks to find food. The RSPB will not look at predators as a cause or causes of decline in lapwings. This is why we are getting these negative results. The RSPB should ask farmers what happens to nesting peewits and they will tell you that if the crows don't get their eggs, then foxes and buzzards will kill adults and chicks. The RSPB's approach to conservation isn't working. At present farmers in stewardship schemes get paid solely for habitat improvements.

If the farmers and the RSPB were also paid for achieving improvements in wildlife numbers, they might adopt other measures such as predator control to achieve these ends.

The RSPB and other conservation organisation will not admit that increased predation levels are a problem because this puts them in a conflicted position.

Their revenue would be at risk if they the RSPB were to carry out research that identified a real need to control predators because membership support could fall.

About 350,000 deer have been shot in Scotland because they were destroying habitat.

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