Raven found shot & decapitated in Cheshire

RSPB press release (16 May 2019)

Raven found shot in Cheshire

A protected raven has been found illegally shot near Delamere Forest, Cheshire, triggering a police investigation.

The bird was found in a field by a man walking his dog along the edge of the forest. The bird had no head but had no other injuries. He contacted the RSPB’s Investigations unit for advice, and they arranged for the bird to be collected and x-rayed.

The x-ray revealed as many as nine pieces of shot in the raven’s body. The cause of the bird’s missing head however is not known.

[Photos via RSPB]

Ravens and birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.

Cheshire Police carried out detailed enquiries, including conducting a search of the area and speaking to local farmers. However, no leads were uncovered. The public are now being called on to step forward with any information which may help identify the culprit.

Jenny Shelton, from the RSPB’s Investigations Unit, says: “The countryside is somewhere we should all be able to enjoy, and our incredible birds and wildlife are part of what makes places like Delamere Forest so special.

Raven populations are starting to recover in the UK following centuries of persecution and superstition. These magnificent birds are protected by UK law, yet this is the latest in a growing number of ravens which have been illegally killed in recent months.

The persecution of ravens and birds of prey is a serious issue, and much more common than many of us might think. It’s incredibly difficult to uncover the culprits in cases like these, and you wonder how many other birds have been illegally shot which we don’t hear about. We would like to thank Avian Veterinary Services and Cheshire Police for their help and hard work.”

PC Gerard Gigg of Cheshire Police said: “Can members of the community, when they witness any crime involving wildlife or indeed any other suspicious activity, report it immediately by calling 101, or 999 if the crime is ongoing.”

If you have any information relating to this incident, which occurred around 23 March 2019, call 101, ask for Cheshire Police and quote reference number: 19100137950.

If you find a wild bird of prey which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact RSPB investigations on 01767 680551 or fill in the online form here.


4 thoughts on “Raven found shot & decapitated in Cheshire”

  1. “To kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.”
    Penalty not severe enough… Fine never going to be ‘unlimited’ enough for what is after all ‘murder’… Maybe, just maybe (?) could have been shot by accident… but difficult to imagine how the poor bird could have lost its head by accident. So very wrong.

    1. How on earth do you shoot something by accident? you either shoot at it or you don’t and Ravens are big birds and not easily approached, so are hardly likely to fly through as you shoot at something else! They are of course also disliked by some game managers and farmers. To my mind this was a deliberate crime, as to the missing head– who knows a trophy perhaps.

  2. Wildlife crime and wildlife persecution is probably the most under reported crime in the UK. Despite laws protecting much of our wildlife, unlawful killing and acts of wicked cruelty take place everyday.

    Wildlife can not walk into police stations to report what is happening.

    The countryside, where wildlife should live without threat from large scale human activity , offers a place away from potential witnesses where those committing these crimes can often act without fear of ever getting caught and brought to justice.

    In rural areas the perpetrators of wildlife crimes are often known within the local community, but because of the way these local communities function, there is frequently a “wall of silence” to investigations.

    Sadly our own natural wildlife and the perils it faces doesn’t have the glamour or publicity of “Save the Tiger or Save the Rain forest”- but it should!

    Offences against the Wildlife and Countryside Act should cause abhorrence, and offenders should be identified and brought to justice, even it means reporting “one’s neighbour” .

    Wildlife, like children are vulnerable, haven’t the means to act, and it takes the courage of good people to speak out on their behalf.

    To do nothing and be complicit, is in effect to support the evil acts of those committing these crimes, and is shameful.

  3. The practice of paying bounty on heads/beaks of birds, mainly birds of prey was still going on at at least one major shooting estate in south Scotland in the 1990s. Perhaps that’s what your looking at here?

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