Following an incident where a dog was caught in a snare on the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve, Shropshire, supporters of the NASC distributed hundreds of leaflets to local walkers informing them of the danger of snares on the National Nature Reserve.
The Shropshire Wildlife Trust, which manages two areas on the reserve: Brook Vessons nature reserve to the east of the main ridge, and Nipstone Rock nature reserve to the south, are opposed to snaring but feel helpless to do anything as the sporting rights are owned by Natural England (formerly called English Nature) who bought the reserve in 1982 under their former name, Nature Conservancy Council.
Interestingly, English Nature claimed in 2003 that there was no snaring on any of their reserves during consultation with DEFRA on the use of snares.
However we understand from Tom Wall, site manager of the Stiperstones National Nature Reserve that things changed in 2003 when Neil Wainwright took over the shooting rights at Stiperstones and started snaring by putting snares on “sheep tracks on the open hills to catch foxes.” We understand this is to “increase red grouse for shooting purposes.” Apparently he lifts the snares in May when stock are put on the hills.
The open hill ground of the Stiperstones reserve is mapped as “public access land” and these snares are now a menace to all dog walkers as well as a grave danger to animals on the reserve.
It appears that Tom Wall has jumped in bed with the shooting lobby as he does not express any opposition to Neil Wainwrights methods; indeed he has explained in a letter to Philip Dunne, a Shropshire MP that he effectively supports the snaring and that Red Grouse are amongst “Natural England’s highest priorities.”
Please contact Tom Wall and politely ask that he writes to Neil Wainwright, asking that he no longer sets snares on the reserve for the safety of pets and wildlife. Ask him also to change his priorities from encouraging red grouse for shooting, to managing the reserve for public recreation and wildlife conservation. If you are a Shropshire tax payer then you call the shots as you pay Tom Wall’s salary – not a small group of affluent grouse shooters.
Stiperstones National Nature Reserve
Tel: 01743 792294