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Record breeding year for hen harriers
Natural England will monitor the birds’ progress as they move away from their nest areas.

Total of 81 fledged chicks in two years 

A record breeding year for hen harriers has seen a total of 15 nests producing 47 chicks, according to Natural England.

Over the past two years, there have been 81 fledged chicks, compared to a total of 55 chicks over the previous five years put together. The previous highpoint was 2006, when 46 chicks were produced.

Chicks also hatched in a larger range of areas this year, including Northumberland, the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale, Derbyshire and Lancashire.

A wide range of organisations worked together to care for and protect the hen harrier chicks, including conservation organisations, local police, estates and their keepers, farmers and a large number of volunteer raptor enthusiasts.

Natural England will monitor the birds’ progress as they move away from their nest areas, using satellite tags that have been fitted to a high proportion of chicks.

Commenting on the news, Ian McPherson, of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “At long last, there are grounds for cautious optimism with hen harriers again breeding successfully in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. These are magnificent birds, ideally suited to the Dales, and their long absence has shamed us all.”

Dr Adam Smith, of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, added: “More hen harriers better distributed has been our conservation goal for many years. So the trend toward more harriers breeding successfully in the English uplands over the last two years is very encouraging. We hope successful grouse moors managing a co-existence with harriers will become a regular part of our moorland management scene.”

Natural England chairman Tony Juniper welcomed the positive news but added: “We must remember that the hen harrier is still very far from where it should be as a breeding species in England, not least due to illegal persecution.”

In February, the public body released a research paper that revealed young hen harriers in England suffer abnormally high mortality, and the most likely cause is illegal killing.

Mr Juniper pledged to work with colleagues to pursue all options for the recovery of the species.

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk