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Quarter of hen harrier chicks vanished in ‘suspicious circumstances’
Scotland has seen a 57 per cent decline on grouse moors since 2010.
RSPB releases data on satellite-tagged birds in Scotland

Over a quarter of hen harrier chicks disappeared in suspicious circumstances last year, according to data from satellite-tagged birds.

The RSPB said tags on some birds suddenly stopped transmitting, despite working perfectly beforehand. One bird’s tag abruptly stopped transmitting over a grouse moor near Ballater on 12 August last year, while another pair of birds disappeared over grouse moors in northern England.

Meanwhile, almost 40 per cent of the birds tagged in 2017 are known to have died from natural causes. Tags continue to transmit after the birds are dead, so the remains can often be recovered and post mortems carried out. The data shows some birds had died from predation, while others had starved.

Birds are tagged as part of the EU-funded Hen Harrier LIFE project, which is now in its fourth year. This year, the RSPB has so far tagged 30 birds - an unprecedented number. The tags allow conservationists to gather valuable information on the birds’ movements and cause of death.

Hen harrier chicks have a survival rate of just 22 per cent in the first two years of life and the species has declined by 24 per cent in the UK since 2004. Scotland has seen a 57 per cent decline on grouse moors since 2010. Conservationists say illegal persecution is having a hugely detrimental impact on hen harrier numbers.

Dr Cathleen Thomas, project manager for the LIFE project, said: “This species is only just holding on in the UK; it’s both heart-breaking and infuriating that year after year many of these chicks disappear in suspicious circumstances. The loss of birds in this way is both needless and senseless and cannot go on.”

An independent enquiry is currently underway, having been commissioned by Scottish cabinet secretary Roseanna Cunningham to find out how grouse moors can be managed within the law and explore options for its regulation. The panel is expected to report back in spring 2019.

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Registrations open for overseas veterinary professionals course

News Story 1
 Registrations are now open for the RCVS CPD course for overseas veterinary professionals, which covers an introduction to the UK veterinary professions.

The course is aimed at overseas-qualified veterinary surgeons and nurses during their first two years of working in the UK, in addition to those considering working here. It provides graduates with the key information and skills required to practice in the UK, as well as helping them understand their legal duties as veterinary professionals.

For more information and to book your place please click here. The course will be held at Belgravia House, London, on Wednesday 12 June.  

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News Shorts
BVA launches award to celebrate young vets

A new award has been launched to celebrate inspirational young vets who are making a difference in their day to day work.

Nominations are now open for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award, which is the first of its kind. It is open to all vets registered with the RCVS in the first eight years of their careers, working in any veterinary sphere, including clinical practice, research, education or veterinary politics. Organisers are looking for an ‘exceptional young vet’ whose work has benefitted the veterinary community or the workplace.

The awards are open for self-entry and nominations by 1 August 2019. The winner will be announced at London Vet Show on 14 November 2019, where a £1000 cash prize will be awarded, alongside a ‘career enhancing experience’ with Zoetis.