Here's a conundrum for you to ponder over this evening's cocoa or what ever beverage you prefer - though after reading it I guarantee that you'll be reaching for the strong stuff, which in my case will be the tube of UHU in the garage. In the style of Have I got news for you or that really challenging quiz on Lorraine Kelly can you spot the odd one out?
All of you that said that it's obviously the lobster looking thing in the top right corner got it wrong. The Monk Parakeet, Signal Crayfish, Ruddy Duck and Pheasant are all non-native species in the UK. The former three are all targeted for ethnic cleansing by DEFRA. However the Pheasant isn't and here's the twist. DEFRA have in their wisdom donated £375,000 of Taxpayers money to carry out a trial project to protect pheasant shoots from this natural resident.
The report ( https://raptorpersecutionscotland.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/buzzard-control-experiment-overview.pdf
) suggests four ways in which to help protect their precious investments from Buzzards.
1. Cut vegetative or artifical cover inside and outside pheasant-rearing pens. Provide shelters/refuges in the form of brash piles or wigwams. Possibly also wooden shelters/ refuges.
2. Diversionary feeding. Whole carcasses left on posts out of reach of ground predators. Type of carcass to be agreed with site owners. Provide for limited periods to reduce risk of increase in local buzzard population.
3. Translocation (permanent). Permanent removal off-site, for example, to a falconry centre. NE [Natural England] would be able tm provide assistance for researchers in planning and licensing negotiations with potential recipients.
4. Nest destruction. Breeding birds displaced by destroying nests under construction, for example, using squirrel drey-poking pole or shotgun from below thereby forcing the pair to move on to find another nest site or not breed that year. Care would be needed to avoid injuring birds.
Now living just a bus ride or two from the edge of the Peak District I know, just like my fellow birding mates, that the average keeper will go straight to number 4 and probably not bother with the squirrel poking pole, a bonus if you get one sitting!
So in these austere times our government chooses to use our money to oust a species that endured decades of persecution and still does, all in the name of protecting pheasants and their wealthy Tory voting owners!