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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

 - Mahatma Gandhi

Hen Harrier faces threat of extinction

Hen Harriers are birds of prey living primarily on heather moorland.

But this iconic species is under severe threat, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

There are just four breeding pairs left in England and the species is also declining elsewhere.

Scotland is the traditional breeding ground for these birds but since 2010 numbers have fallen by 9%

In Wales, breeding pairs fell by more than one third over the same period.

Hen harriers traditionally feed on grouse and this has brought them into conflict with managers of estates that are involved in grouse shooting. While conservationists believe that the the grouse and harriers can co-exist perfectly well, illegal killings are almost certainly to blame for their perilous situation.

Anyone killing or injuring a wild bird is committing an offence says Defra and could face jail if convicted.

Read more about this issue on the RSPB website at

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Grey Squirrels enter one of last red’s havens in England

The invasive grey squirrel originally imported from America has recently breached the mountain defences in the Lake District for the first time and killed 18 out of 30 of the surviving native red squirrels.

The red squirrels in the Grasmere area were thought to be safe by virtue of their unique location, because the single access valley is regularly patrolled by squirrel rangers who trap and shoot the would be invaders.

However, a population boom in grey squirrels has overwhelmed the methods of control and allowed the greys, which carry a pox virus deadly to red squirrels, to access the area and transmit the fatal disease according to the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

While there are now thought to be 2.5 million greys in England there are only a few thousand reds.

A spokesperson for the Penrith & District Red Squirrel group said they were working hard to preserve their native reds but had killed 1,483 greys recently in an ongoing battle against greys which are not only dangerous to the red squirrel population but also harm other species including songbirds and damage forests due to stripping bark from young trees and stopping their growth.