Why is NRW allowing casual killing of Jackdaws?

Jackdaw. Photo: Tim Melling

Natural Resources Wales authorises the uncapped, unchecked, unregulated killing of Jackdaws all over Wales through its General Licence GL004. This is supposed to be a conservation licence. It’s outrageous – totally outrageous.

We know of no conservation organisation that culls Jackdaws on its land and yet NRW is allowing this killing for alleged conservation purposes – conservation of what, exactly? NRW lists the species for which killing of the four corvid species on GL004 is authorised, but without telling us whether it is the Jay that is predating Gannet chicks or Jackdaws. Most of the species listed on Annex 1 are simply ridiculous – after all, a lot of them never nest in Wales!

Although NRW have had evidence that Jackdaws are not a conservation problem they appear to have ignored it. We won’t go into all the details, but the more you do, the more alarming the NRW General Licences appear. Take for example the NRW General Licence Review report.

Have a look at Table 2 on page 12, and look at Jackdaw under licence GL004. You will see that Jackdaw scores 2 in one column (showing that there is some quite good science done on the subject) and 1 in the other column which purports to be the strength of the evidence. Clearly the evidence is fairly weak because Jackdaw doesn’t score 2. What does a score of 1 mean?

We’ve discussed this before on this blog – see here. The score of 1 comes from a BTO report to SNH where, for some reason, we can’t think what reason, and we certainly can’t think of a good reason, if there is one study that suggests that Jackdaws are important predators of other species and millions of studies which suggest they have no impact at all, then the BTO report to SNH scored that species as having an effect. This the opposite of giving a species the benefit of the doubt and it flies against the precautionary principle. What the flawed BTO report does, and what NRW has repeated without thought it seems, is remove the benefit of any doubt and paved the way for widespread culling of Jackdaws for alleged but unexplained conservation purposes across the whole of Wales in unlimited numbers. Scandalous!

Look at the BTO report and what it says about Jackdaws on pages 33 and 34 – click here. Is that the evidence that would move you to put Jackdaw on a general licence which authorises unlimited killing of a species across Wales?

Let’s go back to the NRW report and look at page 32. It says about Jackdaw;

Low expert opinion and no anecdotal evidence to suggest jackdaw will have an impact on wild bird prey populations.


And yet, on this basis, Jackdaw is regarded by NRW, but not by any conservation organisation that we know, as a widespread conservation problem. Its ridiculous.

Wild Justice is challenging this general licence – here is our crowdfunder.