Yorkshire Dales: new report proves it’s a raptor persecution hot spot

Yorkshire Dales National Park is a raptor persecution hot spot

The Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey ‘Partnership’ (YDBPP) recently published a ‘Bird of Prey Evidence Report’ which supposedly documents the status of raptors in the ‘national park’ and provides details of confirmed illegal persecution between 2022-2023. England’s ‘national parks’ are notorious persecution hotspots, so any truly independent analysis should slam the management of the grouse […]

Smoke from burning grouse moors choke Sheffield

“This is the unspeakable face of driven grouse shooting saying ‘F**k the environment, public health, wildlife and you’. Underpinned by the criminal persecution of raptors and a cause of poor water quality and flooding this despicable industry needs to end. End of. “ The above is Chris Packham’s entirely understandable response on Twitter to the […]

The vile Pheasant shooting ‘season’ has started

Dead pheasants hung from a railing

With barely a press release or salivating media article, the pheasant shooting ‘season’ has started again in the UK. Over the next few months (until 1st of February) the countryside will echo with unwanted and upsetting reminders that birds are dying in vast numbers. It’s opened in marked contrast to the flurry of vapid puff […]

Scotland: Avian Flu confirmed in pheasants

Dead pheasants Cornwood shoot

On August 11th, the day before the ‘Inglorious 12th’ and the start of grouse shooting, we reported that a case of highly-infectious Avian Flu had been detected in a Red Grouse. Given how Red Grouse are bred to create a ‘surplus’ for shooting (in other words, bred at far denser population levels than would occur […]

JAILED: Twin brothers who left a charity cyclist to die

Twin brothers who left a charity cyclist to die on a remote Highland roadside after hitting him with their pick-up truck before hiding his body in a stink pit (a pit where gamekeepers dump animal carcasses) have been jailed for a total of 17 years and three months. As we reported earlier this month (see […]

THREE more Hen Harriers ‘disappear’ on grouse moors

The RSPB has posted a press release today which describes how THREE more Hen Harriers (one of the UK’s most persecuted birds of prey) have ‘vanished’ on grouse moors in northern England. All three of them have been killed within days of the ‘Inglorious 12th’, the start of the 121-day blood-soaked season the industry uses […]

Avian Flu confirmed in a Red Grouse

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has updated its spreadsheet “Avian Flu in wild birds: 2023‘ to include the news that surely no one wanted to hear: a case of Avian Flu in a Red Grouse. The details are – to say the least – scant. All that is known is that a Red Grouse […]

Hen Harrier ‘brood meddling’ slammed by Wild Justice

The campaign group Wild Justice (run by Dr Mark Avery, a former Director of Conservation at the RSPB, Dr Ruth Tingay, who set up and runs the highly-influential Raptor Persecution UK (RPUK) blog, and Chris Packham, the most popular conservationist in the whole of the UK) has just published Meddling on the Moors, a new […]

Have Your Say: Government Firearms Licencing Consultation

The Home Office is seeking views on recommendations for changes to the legislation on firearms licensing, possible changes to the system of referees, and changes in other areas of firearm licensing. The online consultation, which consists of 20 ‘Yes/No’ questions and a ‘personal details’ section takes just a few minutes to complete. It is “open […]

Defra cosies up to grouse shooting industry

Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), the government department “responsible for improving and protecting the environment”, has announced the appointment of a grouse moor owner to what it describes as a ‘key role’. Heather Hancock (pictured above), a former Food Standards Agency chair and former Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park […]

‘Moor’ bad news for grouse shooting in run up to Inglorious 12th

As we reported on July 22nd, United Utilities (UU), the largest corporate landowner in England, announced its decision to no longer renew grouse shooting leases on its moorland. The last of those leases will end in 2027, after which time UU (unless they bow to pressure from the shooting industry) will be out of the […]

White-tailed Eagle: first chick born in England since 1780

In a remarkable triumph of forward-thinking conservation and persistence, a White-tailed Eagle chick has hatched in England for the first time in more than 240 years. The location of the nest is being kept secret. Once widespread across Great Britain the huge birds of prey were widely persecuted. The last known English pair bred on […]

Heads-up shooting industry: Avian Flu is still killing wild birds

Just last week we posted an article (‘World’s tiniest violin plays for shooting industry‘) about a puff piece for the shooting industry published by the Daily Telegraph. In our post we pointed out that shooting lobbyists were arguing that the massive releases of non-native birds to be shot should be allowed to go ahead partly […]

White-tailed Eagles poisoned in Northern Ireland

white-tailed eagles posoned in northern ireland

A reward of £5,000 has been offered for information following the poisoning of two White-tailed Eagles in Co Antrim. The birds were found on Glenwherry Hillfarm on May 15th and a post-mortem examination revealed both birds had ingested the insecticide bendiocarb. Conservationists monitoring one of the birds, which was fitted with a satellite tag, became […]

World’s tiniest violin plays for shooting industry

Last week Yahoo News reposted a Daily Telegraph puff piece for the shooting industry which ran with the headline, “Gamekeepers face ruin after last-minute change to licences.” Lamenting a normally supine government for actually (finally) recognising the terrible threat of Avian Flu to wild bird populations and that protected areas ought to be – you […]

Gamekeeper Francis Addison convicted in dead goshawks investigation

Francis Addison gamekeeper charged in connection with discovery of five dead goshawks

On the 29th of June, Francis Addison (72) a part-time gamekeeper of South Park, Weeting, pleaded guilty at Norwich Magistrates’ court to NINETEEN charges in connection with a multi-agency raptor persecution investigation led by Suffolk Police, including the possession of five shot Goshawks. As Protect the Wild reported back in January this year, the bodies […]

Short-eared Owl shot and killed on Peak District grouse moor

The RSPB has released news of the shooting of a Short-eared Owl on  Broomhead Estate, a notorious grouse moor in the Peak District National Park. The incident took place last summer but wasn’t publicised until police investigations had concluded. The shooting was witnessed and recorded on a mobile phone by an individual birding on the […]

RSPB: The Economics of Driven Grouse Shooting Report

grouse shooting

The RSPB (the “UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home and secure a healthy environment for wildlife’) recently published a report called ‘Driven Grouse Shooting – Assessing the economic and social impacts of future options for grouse moor management‘ Or did they? Curiously, this detailed and over 100-pages long report […]

Avian Flu: RSPB calls for ban on bird releases by shooting industry

“To help limit the catastrophic spread of Avian Influenza, the RSPB is calling for an immediate moratorium on the release of captive-bred gamebirds and Mallards for shooting in the UK this year. The call is for the UK and devolved governments and the shooting industry to take a precautionary approach to limit the spread of […]

Hen Harriers: Illegal killing major cause of death, says RSPB

As everyone but the shooting industry acknowledges, illegal killing IS the main cause of death in Hen Harriers aged between one and two years, and a major cause of death in birds under one year, according to a new paper, published in the journal Biological Conservation, and led by the RSPB. According to a press […]

Protectors of the Wild – putting eyes in the field

Have you ever wondered what UK law says about hunting, shooting, collecting bird eggs, or about foxes, badgers, and bats? About operating drones, using airguns, or driving quad bikes legally? What the Hunting Act 2004 says, or whether the snare or spring trap you’ve just found is being used within the law or not? Us […]

“Sickened”: Hen Harrier had head pulled off while still alive

Natural England (whose useless scheme to boost populations of the rare Hen Harrier has been slammed repeatedly by conservationists) says it is “sickened by evidence of persecution” of Hen Harriers after a staggering twenty of the rare birds ‘went missing’ from areas managed for grouse shooting in northern England in the past year. Hen Harrier […]

Sun sets on failed Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative

According to a statement by the Peak District National Park Authority, the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative is to close as persecution cases continue. Set up in 2011 by the National Park Authority, the ‘initiative’ was intended to restore populations of birds of prey (or raptors) to 1990s levels, but has crashed amidst ongoing […]

Scotland: Gamekeeper guilty of shooting Sparrowhawk on grouse moor

On 31 March 2023 Rory Parker (24), pleaded guilty to shooting a Sparrowhawk whilst employed as a gamekeeper on the notorious Moy Estate, Inverness – becoming the 56th gamekeeper to be convicted of raptor persecution offences in Scotland since 1990. As their name suggests, Sparrowhawks are one of the UK’s smallest birds of prey and […]

Co Durham: Red Kite found ‘peppered with shot’ on grouse moor

The RSPB has said that a Red Kite found this month peppered with lead shot in Edmundbyers, County Durham is currently fighting for their life in a bird hospital. This is the second report of a shot Red Kite in just a few days, following news that a witness saw a Red Kite being shot […]

Scotland: Red Kite shot on Lochindorb Estate

Police Scotland have appealed for information after a witness reported the shooting of a Red Kite on a grouse shooting estate near Grantown-on-Spey. The Kite was recovered by the Scottish SPCA but the gunshot injuries were so severe the bird had to be euthanised. Red Kites have full legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside […]

Anu: yet another Hen Harrier ‘disappears’

To quote the RSPB, “Hopes dashed for vanished Hen Harrier Anu, whose tag was found cut off after roosting on grouse moor”. Anu, a satellite tagged Hen Harrier, vanished after roosting near Upper Midhope in the Peak District National Park – on land managed for driven grouse shooting. RSPB Investigations Officers located the bird’s tag […]

I want you to help us bring down the bird shooting industry

If you find yourself reading this, it’s likely you’re anti fox hunting. Maybe you’ve watched our ‘Trail of Lies’ animation or came across one of our undercover investigations. Or perhaps you signed one of our online petitions or donated to a crowd funder. However, what’s less likely is your position on bird shooting and whether […]

Woodcock petition debate: through the looking glass with the shooting lobby

On the 27th of February, Parliament debated petition 619615 ‘Limit the shooting season of Woodcock‘, which was launched by Wild Justice and signed by 107, 916 members of the public. The petition asked that the (so-called) shooting season for Woodcock, a species in serious decline here, should be moved back from 01 October (it starts […]

“The Shooting Industry: it’s not just hunts that kill foxes”

A fox trots through a quiet wood. Suddenly a gun blast tears the air. Pheasant alarm calls ring out. The fox runs as birds are shot out of the sky… Those are the opening few seconds of a new 90 second animation we’re about to launch. It’s produced for Protect the Wild by Ben Sinclair […]

DORSET: Gamekeeper slapped on wrist for multiple raptor deaths

Gamekeeper Paul Allen of Wimborne St Giles, appeared at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on 16 February (2023) following a guilty plea last month relating to multiple raptor persecution offences. As we reported on Protect the Wild in January (Yet more dead buzzards and yet another gamekeeper in court) the bodies of six shot Buzzards and the […]

Pheasant shooting ‘season’ ends today

Dead pheasants Cornwood shoot

The vast majority of birds that breed in or regularly visit the UK are rightly protected by law and can not be harmed or killed at any time of the year. For those unfortunate species that were long ago declared as ‘game’ or ‘quarry’ though (and there are no biological reasons for the choices that […]

Raptor persecution: if we think ‘shooting’ first who can blame us?

The recent discovery of the bodies of five dead young Goshawks dumped in a wood in Suffolk drew an instant response that shooting estates and their gamekeeper employees were likely to be involved. That feeling was compounded by x-rays that showed shotgun pellets in all five birds. Shooting lobbyists like BASC (the British Association of […]

Five shot Goshawks dumped in Suffolk wood

On 17th January Suffolk Police’s Rural, Wildlife & Heritage Unit posted a request on their Twitter feed for information after the discovery of the bodies of five young (Northern) Goshawks dumped in Forestry England’s King’s Forest near Thetford in Suffolk. The large and powerful birds – fully grown juveniles likely to have hatched just last […]

Banning Snares: a parliamentary debate in name only

On January 9th MPs gathered in a room in Westminster Hall to debate e-petition 600593, which as the 102,616 people who signed it will remember was a demand by Animal Aid that “The Government should prohibit the sale, use and manufacture of free-running snares under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, putting them in the […]

Podcast 02: Snares and trailing a new campaign


A short podcast by Charlie Moores about snares – recorded the day before he headed to London to listen to a pro-hunt and pro-shoot government ‘debate’ last year’s petition organised by Animal Aid that called for a ban on the use, sale, and manufacture of snares…   “If you’re a certain age you may remember […]

Yet more dead buzzards and yet another gamekeeper in court

Dorset gamekeeper Paul Scott Allen appeared before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, January 4 where he pleaded guilty to seven offences including possession of a live or dead bird (or parts thereof) and misuse of a regulated poison. Allen appeared in court after an extensive investigation by police which began in November 2020 when a […]

Ending Bird Shooting – let’s talk about foxes

How do you persuade an audience that is primarily interested in fighting foxhunting to become as concerned about the bird shooting industry? Oddly enough (and as a lifelong birder I’m writing this through slightly gritted teeth as it were), it’s probably not by talking about birds…   Last year Keep the Ban, which was built […]

Hen Harrier nest attacked and chicks stamped to death

Hen Harrier and chick

North Yorkshire Hen Harrier chicks found dead with broken bones after ‘deliberate’ attack The raptor persecution hot spot of North Yorkshire (a ‘black hole for raptors‘ according to the Yorkshire Post) is in the news again following a (belated) press release from the local police. In an area dominated by grouse moors and frequent reports […]

The Killing Continues: Shooting industry driving raptor persecution

RSPB 2021 Birdcrime Report

The latest RSPB Birdcrime Report confirms that the shooting industry continues to drive the illegal persecution of birds of prey, listing 108 confirmed incidents across Britain in 2021. The tally of dead birds includes 50 Common Buzzards, 16 Red Kites, seven Peregrines and three Goshawks. Birdcrime is the UK’s only annual and comprehensive report of […]

Avian Flu: is the government serious about protecting wild birds?

Avian flu is spreading fast: Protect the Wild wonders whether the government is really serious about protecting wild birds, not just poultry. Avian Flu, or (HPAI) H5N1, is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds. A disease originating in East Asia, Avian Flu infected chickens […]

Birds still being released and shot despite Avian Flu crisis

Avian influenza Prevention Zone declared across Great Britain making it a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. Chief veterinary officers from England, Scotland and Wales have declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain to prevent the disease spreading amongst poultry and captive birds in a belated attempt to control […]

Capercaillie numbers at critically low levels, national survey results reveal


Capercaillie numbers at critically low levels, national survey results reveal‍ The sixth national Capercaillie survey has estimated there are now only 542 individual Capercaillie, a reduction of around half putting the remnant UK population at real risk of extinction. Capercaillie are the world’s largest grouse and populations range from Iberia in the southwest of Europe […]

Shocking footage released of pheasant shooting estate in Lancashire

dead pheasant

Shocking footage of dead and dying birds filmed on shooting estate in Lancashire. In September 2022 investigators from the Hunt Investigation Team, in collaboration with Protect the Wild, captured undercover footage from pheasant pens at the Leighton Hall shooting estate in Carnforth, Lancashire. Seasoned investigators were shocked at what they found. Many young pheasants were […]

Undercover investigation exposes sick birds bred to be shot

Our latest undercover investigation exposes sick birds bred to be shot. The shooting industry profits by rearing flocks of near-tame birds to kill, promising its clients huge ‘bags’ (the disrespectful collective term they use rather than referring to individual birds) and charging them hundreds of pounds a day for the privilege of standing in a […]

Gamekeeper Archie Watson charged with raptor persecution

Archie Watson copyright Guy Shorrock RSPB

Archie Watson: yet another gamekeeper charged with raptor persecution. Yet another gamekeeper has been charged with being a prolific raptor serial killer. Archie James Watson from Manningford Bruce in Pewsey (Wiltshire) faces six charges under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and three firearms offences and will be appearing before Swindon Magistrates Court on Wednesday, May […]

Natural England protects shoot from ‘disturbance’

A tweet showing a Natural England sign which restricts access to land at Knapp Down, near Salisbury (Wiltshire) to ‘avoid disturbance to game and disruption to shooting’ has (rightly) gone viral (kudos @KeggieC). What on earth is Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. “We help to protect and restore […]