RSPB Shock at second bird of prey poisoning in West Country


This page contains 11 reader comments. Click here to view (latest Sat 22/10/11 14:04).

Devon and Cornwall Police and the RSPB are again appealing for information following confirmation this week that two Peregrines found dead near St Just had been poisoned with the banned pesticide carbofuran. The RSPB is offering a reward of £1000 for information leading to a conviction.

The birds, male and female, were found by a member of the public at midday on 21st July having been seen alive just hours earlier hunting near their cliff-side nest. Following the discovery, Natural England's Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) were notified and began an investigation. The bodies were sent for analysis and it was confirmed on Tuesday that both had high levels of carbofuran and that this had caused their deaths. This follows the news last week that four Goshawks and one Buzzard found dead in Devon in March had similarly been poisoned with carbofuran.

The two Peregrines found dead near St Just (RSPB).

Dr Elaine Gill, Natural England's Regulation Team Leader in the South West, said: "The use of illegal chemicals like carbofuran poses a significant threat to our wildlife and environment — in this case, causing the needless death of two Peregrines after they ate bait laced with poison. Peregrines receive special protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and poisoning them is an offence, as is the possession or use of carbofuran, which has been banned for more than a decade. We treat such incidents seriously and will continue our work with other enforcement agencies under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme to tackle incidents like this."

PC Jack Tarr, Wildlife Crime Officer in Cornwall, and a keen birdwatcher who has been involved in monitoring peregrines for 12 years, said; "That these magnificent birds should be killed in this way is truly shocking. This was a pair I'd regularly enjoyed watching myself, hunting off the coast at St Just and I know they were popular with many other people who walked the cliffs there. We need to find out who did this and bring them to justice."

Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the Southwest, said: "To have confirmed two bird of prey poisonings in as many weeks is unprecedented. We know that Devon and Cornwall have always been persecution black spots and this year looks as though it might be one of the worst on record. We need to stop this. Whatever drives people to do this, it's important to understand that killing birds of prey is not only barbaric, it is also against the law. This makes the perpetrators, however they seek to justify their behaviour, no more than common criminals and we'd expect them to be treated as such."

Anyone found guilty of an offence against birds of prey can be liable to a fine of up to £5000 (per offence) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both. If anyone has information regarding this they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or telephone 101 quoting crime number AP/11/1922. Alternatively, the public can contact the RSPB on 0845 466 3636. All information is handled in the strictest confidence.

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Cornwall Cornwall
Peregrine Peregrine

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The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (11)

Let's hope the authorities manage to find and prosecute the idiots who carried out this senseless crime, and hit them with the maximum available penalties.
   Ed Parnell, 29/09/11 11:30Report inappropriate post Report 
If and when these morons are caught,the authorities should throw the book at them,not some petty fine and let off with a caution.......PRISON!!!!
   Paul Foster, 29/09/11 14:59Report inappropriate post Report 
Obviously the respective authorities are totally failing in their duties. The above article once again is all talk. They ask for information from us the public, but they do not say exactly what measures they are taking to tackle these crimes or how we can specifically help. To summarise, "blind leading the blind" ! ! !
   Nigel, 29/09/11 16:42Report inappropriate post Report 
This is an absolute tragedy. We are supposed to live in an enlightened age, where management of the countryside benefits wildlife. No doubt the perpetrators will be laughing into their pints - maybe someone will overhear and let the right people know.
   RButhnot, 29/09/11 17:19Report inappropriate post Report 
Apparently the UK Wildlife Crime unit is supposed to be investigating this type of crime, woefully their website is still under construction (totally worthless and unacceptable situation). However their email address is ukwildlifecrime@nwcu.pnn.police.uk to report directly incidents and information.
   Nigel, 29/09/11 20:44Report inappropriate post Report 
the law is very weak if caught the max sentence is six months in jail which means out in three if they get the max,which rarely happens the minimum should be 3 years rising 10 ,and should apply to gamekeepers and their bosses and the landowner
   William Thom, 30/09/11 09:22Report inappropriate post Report 
I am not aware of anyone EVER having been imprisoned for deliberate poisoning of birds of prey. Where is the deterrent for such acts?
   Neville Root, 30/09/11 10:59Report inappropriate post Report 
I always thought peregrines killed and ate their own prey, and did not scavenge? Therefore how did they succomb to Carbofuran? Can any one enlighten me please. Oh how I would like to stuff carbofuran down the throats of the unscrupulous gamekeepers who did this.
   Simon Whittard, 30/09/11 13:09Report inappropriate post Report 
Clearly..the finger points at either game keeper or pigeon racing enthusiasts? If there is ''little'' game keeping in the St.Just area (I don't know)...might the latter be the more likely avenue to pursue? Over the years on my travels, be it town,city or countryside..I always look at the local feral pigeons, to see if I can detect any ''racers'' with brightly coloured rings. Often I've found ''racers'' amongst their more pedestrian cousins. Question...do these birds always return to the loft...or do they take to the skies and get lost amongst their congeners in town and countryside alike..but what might be more pertinent....are pigeon fanciers even aware that their birds go AWOL..or is it just easier to blame anything with a hooked beak and ''let fly'' with gun,trap and poison?
   Ken Murray, 30/09/11 18:46Report inappropriate post Report 
Clearly 'Nigel' whoever 'Nigel' may be is an expert in policing. Having worked as an officer in a neighbouring force for many years maybe 'Nigel' would like to dazzle us with his genius as to how hard working police officers and our partner agencies are supposed to police such remote areas without first hand evidence and information from the public when resources are already stretched to the limit and beyond. I suggest you stand up 'Nigel', put on a stab vest and do a few days police work. Either that, old son, or pipe down.
   Dave Rowe, 30/09/11 21:08Report inappropriate post Report 
I can tell you Dave, first hand. I went to photograph some little owls in a non remote area of northants(behind an industrial estate). I stumbled across three youngsters stuffing 3 juvenile owls into a rucksack. I gave pursuit to the lad with the bag. Unfortunately he was on a bicycle and got away, not before grabbing a picture of him. Now the next bit got really frustrating, i dialled 999 for help. 5 minutes into the call the operator was able to tell where I was, even though i was on...more more
   Douglas McFarlane, 22/10/11 14:04Report inappropriate post Report 

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