Satellite-tagged Hen Harrier goes missing in Peak District


A satellite-tagged Hen Harrier has gone missing in the Peak District on land managed for driven grouse shooting.

'Anu' vanished after roosting near Upper Midhope, with RSPB Investigations Officers located the male bird's tag three days later. Police forensics found it had been deliberately cut off the bird, with fears abounding that the harrier was illegally killed and had its tag removed to hide the evidence.

'Anu' being satellite-tagged before fledging in Bowland in 2021 (RSPB).

The RSPB stated: "The tag data confirmed that Anu was alive in the early hours of 11 February, but strangely that the bird had been unexpectedly active during the night: a time when Hen Harriers do not usually fly and we would expect it to be roosting and still.

"The next signal from the tag on 11 February gave cause for concern. The data indicated that Anu was dead. Further location data indicated bird/tag was now approximately 9 km away to the east at Wharncliffe Chase. After a thorough search using specialist equipment in wet conditions, we found no sign of the bird or tag, despite the tag continuing to transmit from the same location.

"We returned for another intensive search and eventually found the tag. There was no sign of the body, not even a scattered feather indicating it may have been removed by a scavenging animal. Worryingly, and crucially, the harness which securely fastens the tag to the harrier appeared to have been severed. We reported our concerns to South Yorkshire Police, which took the tag for forensic analysis. They agreed that Anu's disappearance was suspicious."