1. Video content

    Video caption: Wildlife conservation: Executive criticised over failure to hit targets

    RSPB NI says Stormont failed to meet 37 of 42 targets set in its plan to halt biodiversity loss.

  2. Study finds hen harriers 'still facing persecution'

    Martin Lewes


    A relatively good breeding season for hen harriers looks unlikely to end the controversy over the reasons why they remain close to extinction in areas like Cumbria where ornithologists say there should be far more of them.

    Hen harrier nest with chicks

    A Natural England study last year found hen harriers suffered abnormally high death rates with illegal killing the most likely cause, and the RSPB says English moors could support 12 times as many of the birds of prey.

    Conservationists insist the problem is persecution on grouse moors, while the owners of the moors say they are working to support the species.

    Tony Juniper, the leading environmental campaigner appointed to the chair of the government's advisers, Natural England, in April, said there had been great progress, for which he thanked landowners as well as conservationists, but the problems remained.

    Quote Message: Too many birds still go missing in unexplained circumstances, and I urge anyone who is still engaged in the persecution of these magnificent creatures to cease at once." from Tony Juniper
    Tony Juniper

    Grouse moor owners have supported management of the harriers, with chicks removed and reared in captivity to prevent their parents preying on red grouse chicks, but say they do not condone persecution.

    Quote Message: Twelve of the nests reported today are on land managed for grouse shooting and this reflects a genuine commitment from moor owners and managers to rebuild the harrer population." from Amanda Anderson Director of the Moorland Association.
    Amanda AndersonDirector of the Moorland Association.
  3. Threatened hen harriers have a good breeding year

    The rare hen harriers that have been close to extinction on Cumbria's uplands have had a good year, with 60 chicks fledging from 19 nests across the north of England, according to the government's advisers, Natural England.

    Hen harrier

    They are Britain's most threatened bird of prey, and at the centre of a row between conservationists, who say they are persecuted to protect shooting estates, and the estate owners, who insist they work hard to encourage the birds.

    The successes of this year are put down to good weather, a high number of voles, and Natural England also praises partnership working with groups such as the RSPB and the Moorland Association.

    Tony Juniper, who chairs Natural England, said there had been great progress, but too many birds still went missing in unexplained circumstances.

  4. Protest planned against knocking down 'historic' farm

    A peaceful protest will be held near Bowness on Solway today, by people who are against the demolition of a farmhouse perched on a small hill overlooking a nature reserve.

    It's thought the buildings on Rogersceugh Farm date back to the 18th Century but the demolition is planned to allow two areas of wetland on the RSPB reserve to be joined together.

    Bowness on Solway Parish Council is among those against the plans, and Marian Carruthers, who chairs the council, says there were more than 50 objections to knocking down the remote farmstead.

    Quote Message: It's part of our cultural and historic heritage." from Marian Carruthers
    Marian Carruthers
    Quote Message: We've looked at all sorts of things, getting the Youth Hostel Association involved, private sale as well, but the fact that there will be no real vehicular access to the site in the future that's caused problems with finding a solution." from Dave Blackledge Site manager, RSPB
    Dave BlackledgeSite manager, RSPB
  5. Northumberland hen harriers reach for the sky

    It's been a successful year for hen harriers according to the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership

    It says that birds successfully bred in the county for the sixth year in row.

    Eighteen young have flown from six nests on Forestry England and nearby private land.

    The Hen Harrier Protection Partnership, says tags showed that a bird born in 2018 called Sofia was the best breeder this year with five young ringed in her nest in Northumberland.

    Natural England Director Rob Cooke said: “It is really great news that the breeding population in Northumberland is going from strength to strength, and this years’ success is a tribute to all those working hard for the survival of this magnificent bird.”

    Hen harrier in flight