Goshawks shot in Scottish Borders


Police Scotland's Wildlife Crime Unit is investigating after two Northern Goshawks were found illegally killed in the Scottish Borders.

On 14 February 2019 a member of the public discovered a dead goshawk on land near Abbey Saint Bathens, Duns, and reported the matter to the RSPB. Forensic analysis of the bird was undertaken and it was established that it had been shot. Police were then contacted on Thursday 25 April.

The report comes after another goshawk was found shot in the Peebles area on 2 March 2019. A dog walker found that individual in woods near Eddleston Quarry and reported the matter. After the bird was examined, it was found to have been shot under its wing.

Inquiries into both shootings are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to come forward.

Northern Goshawk preys on rabbits, Woodpigeons and crows – all of which are widely perceived to be pests in the farming and shooting communities – yet it is still mercilessly persecuted (Colin Bradshaw).

Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator, Constable Steven Irvine, said: "An inquiry was already under way into the shooting of the goshawk in March and we are now conducting inquiries into the earlier shooting of another bird in February.

"These birds are a protected species and unlawfully killing them is a very serious offence. Anyone who can assist with these investigations shoud contact police immediately."

Ian Thomson, RSPB Scotland's Head of Investigations, added: "Goshawks are one of Scotland's rarest breeding raptors, with only about 150 breeding pairs. Despite the fact that most of their diet consists of crows, Woodpigeons and rabbits, species that are perceived as pests by some farmers and gamekeepers, cases of illegal persecution against this species are not uncommon, depriving people of the opportunity to see this charismatic and spectacular bird of prey.

"We join with the police in asking that if anyone has information about this crime, or other raptor persecution incidents, they contact Police Scotland."

You can reach Police Scotland by calling 101 for non-emergencies and general enquiries, or 999 if a crime is current and ongoing. If you have information about a crime you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. More information on how to report wildlife crime, such as shot birds of prey, can be found at the RSPB Investigations website.