Hopes over 1,600 Kerry farmers will be in new hen harrier conservation project

It’s hoped over 1,600 Kerry farmers will become involved in a new project aimed at conserving the hen harrier.

The European Innovation Partnership Locally Led Hen Harrier Project was designed and delivered in collaboration with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

This project is targeting the conservation of the hen harrier in six specific areas across the country which contain about 45% of the national population of the protected species.

The target area in Kerry is in the Stacks Mountain; this Special Protection Area from Stack’s to the Mullaghareirk Mountains, West Limerick Hills, and Mount Eagle takes in a third of the land in this new project.

This scheme is targeting a total of 2,000 participants; 1,643 of those are to be in this local Special Protection Area; the scheme is voluntary and farmers will be invited to join in a phased recruitment drive towards the end of 2017.

A dedicated management team is to be recruited to develop tailored solutions for each of the target areas to respond to the declining conservation status of the hen harrier.

A formal request for tenders for a management team was published in November, with the closing date the 24th of January; following an assessment of all submissions, the project team is expected to be appointed by the end February.