As we have written in previous years, the decision to introduce any form of predator control (lethal or non-lethal) is something we never take lightly. It’s always based on evidence and guided by the RSPB’s Council-agreed policy.
The RSPB’s approach to any type of predator control means that we first seek evidence of a problem, check whether there is a non-lethal solution and if so implement that. In many cases this does the job needed.
But non-lethal methods, whilst always the preferred way of doing things, are not always practical. Lethal vertebrate control on RSPB reserves is only considered where the following four criteria are met:
If we can satisfy ourselves of all these things, then we can be sure to make the right decision.
Continuing our openness and transparency on this subject, the figures are presented below for our last reporting period (Nov 2019-Oct 2020).
Vertebrate control summary on RSPB reserves for 2019/2020 (2018/2019 in brackets)
Water Vole & ground nesting bird conservation
Wader, tern, Black Grouse & Crane conservation
Red Squirrel conservation
Numbers not specified
H & S around buildings
Damage to crops
Woodland habitat restoration
Wader, tern, Black Grouse & Capercaillie
0 (29 nests, 133 eggs)
Tern and Avocet conservation
0 (56 nests (site 1), 43 eggs (site 2)
0 (485 eggs)
20 eggs (26)
Roseate and Sandwich Tern conservation
Lesser Black-backed Gull
2 shot (2), 142 eggs (113)
Greater Black-backed Gull
0 (1 shot)
For more information on how the RSPB's network of 224 nature reserves across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, read the latest RSPB Reserves Report. The report brings together all the information about the wildlife on the RSPB’s nature reserves and it reports on the ups and downs of the bird breeding season, together with other wildlife highlights.
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