Hen harrier ‘brood meddling’ scheme to go ahead

Natural England has given the final go-ahead for a controversial scheme that will remove hen harrier eggs and chicks for rearing in captivity, though critics have said the move simply placates grouse moor owners and wildlife criminals.

It confirmed yesterday that “stringent conditions” for the brood management programme had been met.

The birds will be taken from the northern uplands over a two-year period and reared in captivity before reintroduction to the wild. The programme is intended to support the conservation of the endangered bird of prey, triggered when birds reach a certain local population density.

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