The young Bearded Vulture that has been roosting in the Peak District National Park is causing concern for conservationists who fear for its safety on the notorious grouse moors.
[The young Bearded Vulture, photo by William Bowell]
It just happens to have chosen to hang out in ‘one of the worst 10km squares for raptor persecution in the UK’ according to Mark Thomas of RSPB Investigations (e.g. see here) and there are fears that it could be targeted by ruthless gamekeepers in the run up to the start of the grouse shooting season on 12 August.
Only last month police appealed for information after the discovery of a dying buzzard found inside the National Park (see here). It had suffered horrific gunshot injuries and a post-mortem revealed it had previously been shot but had survived those earlier injuries.
[The vulture has been roosting at an old raven nest site, photo by Tim Birch]
It “couldn’t have come to a worse spot in terms of bird of prey persecution” amid fears the vulture could be poisoned or shot. “I don’t think people realise it’s happening in the national park. The bearded vulture is of international importance, so if anything happened to that bird it would bring into sharp focus what is happening here.”
It’s a pretty shocking indictment when a rare bird of prey shows up inside one the country’s most famous national parks and the big story is whether it’ll be left alone or killed.
Fortunately, so far it’s been left alone, presumably because so many birdwatchers have been flocking to see it.
[Birdwatchers viewing the Bearded Vulture, photo by Indy Kiemel Greene]
UPDATE 16th October 2020: Bearded vulture flies out of UK (here)