Some falconers have been contacted by an individual at APHA to contribute to research into birds of prey as potential or actual invasive species in the UK. These requests have bypassed both the Hawk Board and our Clubs and in my estimation this can only be deliberate.
I have contacted the person circulating these email requests and have sought clarity and assurances from them. We will also take the matter up with both senior management at APHA/DEFRA and perhaps the data commissioner.
We have been here before facing spurious and ill conceived requests. There is no evidence to suggest that lost falconry birds pose a threat as alien invasive species in the UK or that genetic introgression is a problem.
We need to be sure that this request for information from us is legitimate, without prejudice, and has utility. Until such assurances are given, I advise any falconer of Hawk keeper to ignore requests for engagement, information, or to be visited.
Dr Gordon T Mellor Chairman The Hawk Board