POLL: Should crows and foxes be culled to protect ground-nesting birds?

POLL: Should crows and foxes be culled to protect ground-nesting birds?



The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has been rocked by a furious row over its controversial culling of crows and foxes on its reserves. Outraged members took to social media to say they are resigning over the killings, which are intended to protect the eggs of ground-nesting birds such as curlews.

Those complaining say they did not join the charity for it to kill wildlife. One warden waded into the row on Twitter, branding those complaining ‘knuckleheads’ and boasting the charity was so wealthy it did not need their membership fees.

Killing crows is particularly emotive as a type of snare called a ‘Larsen trap’ is used.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has faced a backlash over its controversial culling of crows and foxes, which are intended to protect the eggs of ground-nesting birds such as curlew. (Stock photo)

This involves placing a live in a cage to act as a decoy. When another bird is drawn to the cage, it falls through a false floor into a compartment to await its fate.

The device was invented in Denmark, but is now banned there for being inhumane.

In 2016/2017 the killed 661 crows to ‘protect ground-nesting birds’ at 15 of its sites, up from 475 in 2015/16.

It also killed 414 foxes for the same reason, up from 390. Other birds and animals killed by the included 11 gulls to protect terns, and 432 red deer to ‘restore woodland and heathland’.

Though some have expressed support for the measures, dozens of members have objected to the culls.

Elaine Mariani said: ‘Larsen traps and of other animals to protect one species are not what I signed up for.’

Another, Christine Stewart, wrote: ‘Membership cancelled. It’s not a few birds that have been culled, it’s hundreds of foxes and other wildlife too.’

Toby Collett, a warden at the Frampton Marsh reserve in Lincolnshire, wrote: ‘Quite a few knuckleheads and Nimbys running their mouths off about … evidence-based conservation management.

Killing crows involves a type of snare called a ‘Larsen trap’ (pictured above). A live is put in the cage to act as a decoy and when another bird is drawn to the cage, it falls through a false floor into a compartment to await its fate

‘It’s lucky the is so flush with £££ and influence and UK wildlife is doing so well that we don’t need every single member to support the work we do.’He retracted the tweet at 4.05am the next day and apologised.

The had an income of around £140million last year and more than one million members, making it the largest conservation charity in Europe.A spokesman said: ‘The individual involved spoke out of turn … The views expressed in the tweet are not those of the RSPB.’

In a blog post the charity’s head of global conservation, Martin Harper, described the ‘dilemma’ of killing predators to protect endangered species and said there were no non-lethal options available.

Ian Gregory of campaign group You Forgot The Birds, which supports killing or trapping predators to protect birds, said: ‘Those who oppose this are not knuckleheads but well-meaning people with different priorities.

‘They find it hard to accept that the and gamekeepers choose to kill some animals in order to save the lives of many others. But tough choices cannot be avoided.’

This article was first published by The Daily Mail on 09 Aug 2018.


We invite you to share your opinion whether crows and foxes should be culled to protect ground-nesting birds? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should crows and foxes be culled to protect ground-nesting birds?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop wildlife crime. By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.

 

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