The badass Duke of Westminster

diggers350 tony at
Wed Feb 25 14:39:29 GMT 2004

What this article doesn't tell you is the Duke of Westminster's gamekeepers=
 are some of the worst culprits. Maybe we should occupy part of one of his e=
states in Cumbria or the Forest of Bowland to guard the Peregrines, Corncrak=
es and Hen Harriers from the Duke's criminal gamekeepers?

Tony Gosling

Police protection for rare birds

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/02/24 00:51:41 GMT 

One of Britain's most endangered birds of prey is to receive police protect=
ion as forces across the country launch an initiative to halt its persecutio=

Hen harriers prey on grouse chicks, and many are shot or poisoned and their=
 eggs destroyed on shooting estates. 

Tuesday's launch of Operation Artemis makes harming hen harriers one of the=
 most serious wildlife crimes in the UK. 

Anyone harming the birds, their nests or eggs faces a fine of up to £5,000 =
or six months in prison for each incident. 

Any suspicion of crime against hen harriers will be a high priority for pol=
ice officers 
North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom 

Rural beat officers will visit game and land managers to inform them of the=
 police powers and ask them to support the initiative. 

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) wildlife crime investigati=
ons section head Graham Elliott called the initiative a "wake-up call to hen=

"Any suspicion of crime against hen harriers will be a high priority for po=
lice officers," he added. 

North Wales Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom said the hen harrier would be=
 "afforded the highest level of legal protection". 

"Extinction of any species of wildlife in the UK through criminal activity =
is unacceptable in the 21st century," he added. 

Last year there were just 22 breeding attempts by hen harriers in England, =
and only eight were successful. 

There were a further 18 pairs nesting in Wales, and between 365 and 506 in =

RSPB regional director Andy Bunten said: "The absence of hen harriers from =
wide swathes of upland England is a national disgrace. 

"It is high time we reached a situation where we no longer have to guard ha=
rrier nests 24 hours a day, where harriers can nest without constant danger =
of persecution,
and members of the public can have opportunities to enjoy watching these sp=
ectacular birds," he added.

The first peregrine eyrie to be re-located in the Forest of Bowland followi=
ng the destruction by gamekeepers in 1947 of the last occupied site, was fou=
nd on the 14th April 1974 by founder group member Paul Stott containing a si=
ngle egg. Before a second egg had been laid, estate keepers had shot both ad=
ult falcons at this remote nesting site. Throughout the last 23 years this p=
articular moorland site, established on property owned by United Utilities, =
has only been successful on three occations. Despite the efforts of the RSPB=
 during the last 16 years, funded by a generous annual grant from United Uti=
lities, the destruction of nesting sites and protected birds continues to be=
 undertaken with inpunity on the majority of Forest of Bowland estates.

Why Raptor Conservation?
It is hard to believe that in a civilised country like the United Kingdom, =
protected birds of prey such as the Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagle, Goshawk =
and Hen Harrier are being eradicated on Grouse moors to further the selfish =
interests of moorland estate owners.
It may come as quite a shock to learn that up to 95% of Britain's heather m=
oorland estates are involved in the illegal persecution of these species.

More on the Duke,,2087-993476,00.html
Fundraisers are confident that every knight of the garter, an honour grante=
d personally by the queen, will make a donation. The Order of the Garter was=
 established at the same time as the chapel and the
knights, including Lord Carrington, Lord Butler and the Duke of Westminster=
, still attend an annual ceremony in its honour. 

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