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

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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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.

Another study with results, a nine-year upland predation study which was conducted by the game and wildlife conservation trust (GWCT) found that breeding success of curlews, golden plovers and lapwings, was three times higher when predators such as foxes and crows were controlled. Breeding numbers of some wading birds increased in years following predator control.

The GWCT's upland predation study has discovered lapwings up 66%, curlew up 16%, Golden plover up 36%. The government of lower Austria examined independent scientific evidence and duly authorised a licensed cull of buzzards and goshawks, citing he protection of 24 vulnerable prey species.

There should be no taboo about doing what is right just because a bird is a raptor.

In this country the management of any species is frowned upon but the management of raptors can never be considered. Thirteen conservation groups have signed a letter published in The Independent asking for full legal protection of buzzards to be maintained. Now you can see why most of our native wildlife are in decline.

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