TV presenter Chris Packham has led a protest in the Peak District against the illegal killing of hen harriers before today’s official start to the grouse shooting season.
The BBC Springwatch presenter was joined on Sunday by an army of protesters who had gathered at Derwent Dam to express their anger over what the shooting fraternity refers to as the ‘Glorious 12th.
Mr Packham said: "Today not only showed that people care and that they've had enough of illegal persecution, it showed they know what's going on.
“They understand enough about ecology to know that killing all the predators in an ecosystem is no way to look after it.
“The majority of responsible shooters have to rid themselves of their criminal element.
“We're not going to put up with our natural heritage being slaughtered and be told that it's okay because it protects our landscape.”
A crowd of 600 people turned up to support the protest, and they were backed by 3,055 supporters across social media, who went on to spread the message to their collective audience of 2.3m.
Mr Packham said, "Hen Harrier Day has been a great demonstration of a powerful new tool in conservation's arsenal - social media.
“With little cost a few motivated individuals communicated to and rallied thousands of supporters to show their support thanks to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube."
The protest attracted more people than expected, who travelled from all over the country bringing signs and banners with them.
The star banner was an enormous hen harrier with a wing span of 8ft made by 12-year-old Findlay Wilde.
Summing up, Dr Mark Avery said: "this day sends a strong message to the criminal elements in the grouse shooting industry.
“Clean up your act, stick to the law, we want our wildlife back.
“There is nothing 'Glorious' about the start of the grouse shooting season on 12th of August: it should be the 'Inglorious 12th."