'Can there be any justification for shooting a linnet, bullfinch or wren? Who in their right mind requests permission to shoot a skylark?'
Wildlife lovers are in uproar after officials in charge of -protection gave gun owners permission to shoot dead some of Britain’s most treasured and rarest bird species.
Welsh chiefs gave the go-ahead for the slaughter of dozens of species including kestrels, curlew, linnets, sparrows and fieldfares. More than 1,000 may have been killed under the permits.
The revelation comes days after nature fans posted furious objections over similar licences granted in England to kill thousands of from dozens of species – ranging from skylarks and lapwings to rare species such as meadow pipits and oyster-catchers.
They also included garden favourites wrens, robins and bullfinches.
Many of the species are on the , meaning they are of the highest or critical conservation priority. They may be globally threatened with extinction, in severe decline or rare breeders.
Environmentalists condemned the decisions as “appalling”, a “horror story” and “wanton, mindless destruction”.
But officials said the permits were handed out for air safety, public health and safety and to prevent serious damage to livestock.
, which says it promotes nature conservation, issued permits over the past three years between 2015 and 2018 to shoot at least 40 species, including the , blackbird, great tit, bullfinch, , wren, red kite, moorhen, mute swan, kestrel, peregrine falcon and golden plover.
Natural Resources Wales, which states that it “maintains and enhances biodiversity”, issued 73 licences to kill at least 20 species, including the linnet, redwing, song thrush, mistle thrush, meadow pipit, lapwing and skylark.