Two short-eared owls shot dead nr grouse moor in County Durham

Durham Police are appealing for information following the discovery of two dead short-eared owls in Co Durham.

The birds, found on 2nd March, had been shoved inside a pothole near to Selset Reservoir near Middleton-in-Teesdale. Their corpses were sent for post mortem which revealed they had been shot.

News article in the Chronicle here

You have to wonder why it’s taken the police seven months to appeal for information. It’s possible that there was a delay in receiving the post mortem results, but even so, the discovery of two owls inside a pothole surely raises suspicions of criminal behaviour? It’s ironic that the police appeal is eventually made during National Wildlife Crime Aware Week, where police forces across the country are advising the public how to spot signs of wildlife crime and encouraging them to report it. What’s the bloody point if the police then sit on the information for seven months?

Interesting to look at the land-use close to Selset Reservoir…..check out this Google map and note all those weird rectangular shapes (burnt strips of heather) – this is driven grouse moor country.

Ban driven grouse shooting: sign the petition here.

Photos of the two dead short-eared owls by RSPB.

Selset reservoir shot SEOs



16 thoughts on “Two short-eared owls shot dead nr grouse moor in County Durham”

  1. So depressing,but we have got to keep up the fight.Take all chances to keep the issues in the public eye. Everytime there is a report like this I am going to make another entry on Iceland’s facebook page and keep the pressure on them.

  2. Here’s what it is all about.
    But it is strange that the hand raised birds are subjected to this. They think it is right to do it!

    Also alarming is the title and credits graphics look very much like birds of prey. What are they trying to say with that?

    1. This to me, is yet more proof of the complete lack of will on the part the relevant authorities to actually catch and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice………………….

      1. Like any other blood sport, including hunting with hounds, the people that make and uphold the laws are deeply involved in the industries.

    2. The Cuckoo singing in midwinter says it all! What a bunch of wallies – I can’t express how I really feel without RPS censoring it! These people try to justify what they do on the basis that they eat their victims which are “organic” because they “wander about the woods without any pesticides.” However if we operated abbatoirs by randomly shooting livestock from a distance, leaving them to squirm and die in agony, would that not be considered unethical? I can imagine most of these guys shooting a passing raptor without a second thought. Scum.

      1. Chances of them being organic are somewhat slim as well. Might not have pesticides but plenty of other treatments.
        Look at how Emtryl was being used by the pheasant rearers even getting an exemption when it was banned generally. Or RPS own superb article on medicated grit. Admittedly grouse not pheasant but shows the general approach. The birds are a crop and treated as such.

  3. How sickening and depressing. I love short eared owls but I’ve never been lucky enough to see one in the wild despite several holidays on Mull and following good advice as to where to see them there. Whoever did this are the scum of the earth, no two ways about it and how on earth are the police going to catch anyone 7 months after the event? I give up.

    1. I live near a salt marsh where amongst many other over-wintering birds, I see short eared owls. Why the people that kill predators do it, is only down to being dim witted and believing in the Victorian ideas. The police are not concerned.

  4. This is by no means a ‘one-off’ act. Due to the high-intensity battle to save our Hen Harriers, Peregrines and Golden Eagles, the killing of Short-eared Owls (and Eagle Owls) on Grouse moors – including my own stomping ground of Bowland – has until now slipped under the radar. But it happens and this is just yet one more sickening illegal act by the morons who claim to be the ‘guardians’ of wildlife and biodiversity on their moors. The amazing thing is – they actually believe this! However, in the certain knowledge that any effort to engage them in sensible scientific dialogue is useless (I have tried this many, many times, including on TV and Radio ‘debate’ programmes as well as on shooting estates themselves) , if anything my anger is even stronger when it comes to the non-action of the police in this matter. God almighty, do they really believe they will get information after sitting on such obvious evidence for seven months? Pathetic, and very suspicious to say the least. Did anyone else scroll down further to another item in the Chronicle newspaper, which states that “Durham Police have been judged as the most efficient police force in the country”! Well if this is the case, based on their marvellous performance in this instance, our fight is going to be a very long one and we needn’t waste our time in involving the police in wildlife crime. Indeed, I personally became even more cynical when the Police ‘Wildlife Officer’ I was supposedly working with, turned out to be a Grouse and Pheasant shooter himself and in cahoots with the syndicates. He now works for a shooting organisation! In the meantime keep fighting the good fight lads. With RPS at the helm and Mark Avery unlikely to let the matter drop, we will win in the end.

    1. The man running one of the shoots on United Utilities land in Bowland is a retired police inspector.
      As mentioned in my previous posts , one of the Lancaster area police wildlife officers also runs a private business selling ammunition to shooters. A local Bowland police officer is a shooter, runs a twitter account lauding amongst other things – big game trophy hunting in Africa. One of the civilians appointed to the Lancs police wildlife crime section in 2011 is of a “farming and gamekeeping background”. These are in addition to the “wildlife officer” now working for the shooting organisation that you mention. I expect he still has friends and influence in the police force. There are probably other police officers involved in game shooting in Bowland that I haven’t found out about by just trawling the internet for information which is in the public domain. The above could well be the “tip of the iceberg”

      Of course, it might seem obvious to appoint police officers, who are keen on field sports and have knowledge of the countryside and guns and who have contacts with country sportsmen, to the position of Wildlife Crime Officers. They would be very good at catching poachers, perhaps? Not much point giving the job to someone who only has experience of urban living/policing.

      How many police have an interest in nature conservation and the environment and knowledge to go with it? Probably not many, if any. Must be hard therefore to get anyone appointed who is genuinely interested in stopping raptor persecution. And let’s face it, the shooting fraternity usually is wealthy, powerful, rural landowning, employs local people who daren’t speak out or they will lose their jobs and/or rented homes.
      And so it goes on …….
      My thanks to all out there who are trying to stem the tide of criminality and change public opinion. I just wish I was more confident that “we will win in the end”!

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