Sir, – It is gratifying to have drawn a response from the Dales (D&S letters, Dec 18) to my call, based on observations in the North York Moors, for national park action to save the much-harried hen harrier.

Since your correspondent, M T Walton, was writing from Richmond, it seems worth mentioning that two years ago my wife and I saw a harrier close to the Reeth-Tan Hill road, west of Whaw. But the Dales national park authority seems as silent as its counterpart in the Moors over the presence of the hen harrier on its patch.

Mr Walton drew attention to the expanding harrier population in New Zealand, where there is little organised gamebird shooting. A parallel in Britain is the dramatic growth in the buzzard population. But though now common in the Lake District, as well as in much conventional countryside, these remain quite rare in our two Yorkshire national parks.

Both are strongholds of shooting. Is there a connection?

The very least the park authorities should be doing is looking into this – and nailing their colours firmly to the mast of protecting all officially-protected birds of prey, including those viewed by some as a threat to grouse shooting.

HARRY MEAD Great Broughton, Stokesley.