When Hen Harrier ‘River’ joined the 2018 cohort that had ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances the NERF article, published on 22 January 2019 ended:
Until the next time; and regrettably there will be a next time.
Knowing that there would be a ‘next time’ did not take away the pain felt when we learnt that yet another young Hen Harrier had joined the ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances.
Little did we know when the article about River was written that Vulcan’s satellite tag had already suddenly and inexplicably stopped transmitting six days previously. Vulcan, one of five chicks from Northumberland, drifted south through the Peak District to Hampshire, spent time in Dorset before the tag finally sent out the last transmission from farmland, managed for pheasant and partridge shooting south of Calston Wellington, North Wiltshire.
Regrettably Wiltshire is no stranger to controversy where Hen Harriers are concerned. This is the county where Natural England propose to release circa 100 hen Harrier chicks, sourced from the Continent, over a 5-year period, as part of their southern reintroduction scheme. Natural England has always proclaimed that the area is a safe haven for reintroducing Hen Harriers – an essential condition for such reintroduction programmes, yet this new evidence would suggest that this is not the case. The fact that Vulcan has inexplicably ‘disappeared’ in an area approximately 10 kilometres to the north of the proposed release site is of great concern to our members.
NERF raptor workers are largely responsible for locating breeding attempts, monitoring the birds throughout the breeding season, ringing and satellite tagging the chicks in the North of England in partnership with RSPB.
If you have any information that would aid the investigation please contact the authorities. There are several ways to pass on information; you can contact:
- The Police on 101
- Crimestoppers on 0800 555111
- RSPB Investigation Team on 01767 680551
- RSPB hotline on 0300 999 0101
NERF would like to thank the Forestry Commission, RSPB Life Project and Raptor Workers who watched over and protected Vulcan. You did a magnificent job and you should be proud of your efforts. NERF would also wish to thank Wiltshire Police and RSPB Investigations Team for their hard work investigating the disappearance of Vulcan.
10 March 2019