Conservationists are outraged that a gamekeeper from England's 4,500-acre Mossdale estate, owned by the Van Cutsem family, admitted to leaving a cruel, illegal pole trap near hen harrier habitat. The authorities let the unnamed gamekeeper, who left an illegal trap strong enough to break a human finger, off with a caution. The indiscriminate traps crush the bird's legs and leave them in agony for hours.
Illegal persecution of hen harriers is driving the birds dangerously close to extinction. Even though there is enough habitat for 300 breeding pairs in England, there were only four breeding pairs in 2014. Now only a handful of pairs remain.
Hen harriers are persecuted on estates by gamekeepers because they eat grouse that wealthy hunters, including the royal family, are so fond of -- the hunters "will pay thousands of pounds per day to troop into managed estates and kill grouse," reports the Guardian. Gamekeepers have to ensure that there are enough grouse to hunt, even if it comes at the expense of the rare hen harrier.
Sign and share this petition urging DEFRA and the NWCU to crack down on the illegal persecution of hen harriers and to ensure local police and courts enforce the current laws. Letting the gamekeeper off with a warning sends the wrong conservation message.