More birds of prey illegally killed in & around Peak District National Park

As conservationists continue to express concern for the safety of the visiting Bearded Vulture in the Peak District National Park (e.g. see here), the RSPB has published a blog detailing more cases of confirmed and suspected illegal raptor persecution that have been recorded in the area since the beginning of lockdown.

[This shot buzzard had to be euthanized due to the extent of its injuries. Photo by Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group]

The RSPB’s updated list includes the following, some of which have already featured on this blog and some which haven’t previously been publicised:

NEW: In the north of the National Park, the remains of a short-eared owl, an amber-listed species, were found on a grouse moor near Glossop on 7 May. A post-mortem recently concluded that shooting had been the cause of death. No leads were forthcoming from police enquiries.

NEW: Near Agden Reservoir, an area dominated by driven grouse moors, four raven chicks were found dead in a nest also on 11 May. The parent birds had been seen bringing food to the young, then vanished without explanation. The chicks were almost at the point of fledging, and the RSPB say the adults were exceptionally unlikely abandon the nest at that stage. The incident is being investigated by South Yorkshire Police.

NEW: Test results are awaited in connection with an adult peregrine found dead in the Upper Derwent Valley.

NEW: In the south, just outside the National Park an eyewitness reported seeing two buzzards being shot near Ashbourne on 1 April 2020. A member of the public was watching the two birds circling a wood, on land managed for pheasant shooting, when he heard a shot and saw the birds fall. There’s no comment about a police investigation.

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: On 11 May, a buzzard was found mortally wounded on land managed for gamebird shooting near Diggle. It was found alive but with terrible injuries and sadly had to be euthanized. An x-ray revealed six pieces of shot lodged in the bird’s body. [This crime has previously been blogged about here]

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: In the south of the Park, a buzzard and two peregrines are being tested for poison after being found dead in Staffordshire. [These incidents have previously been blogged about here] [Confirmed illegally poisoned. See UPDATE at foot of this blog]

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: In mid-June, Derbyshire Police issued an appeal for information after three peregrine nests were robbed of their eggs, all within the National Park. The RSPB alerted the police about one of the incidents. [These incidents have previously been blogged about here]

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: A dead kestrel and a buzzard have also gone for poison testing: they were found near Glapwell, where several buzzards were found poisoned in 2016. [These incidents have previously been blogged about here] [Confirmed illegally poisoned. see UPDATE at foot of blog].

To read the RSPB blog in full please click here

The RSPB’s Head of Investigations, Mark Thomas, was also on BBC Radio Derby a few days ago talking about the ongoing killing of birds of prey in the Peak District National Park. Available here (starts 3hrs 16) for 24 days.

UPDATE 3rd August 2020: Buzzard and kestrel confirmed illegally poisoned in Derbyshire (here)

UPDATE 2nd October 2020: Birds of prey illegally poisoned in Staffordshire / Peak District National Park (see here)

10 thoughts on “More birds of prey illegally killed in & around Peak District National Park”

  1. The cabal of game shooting organisations ought to be hugely challenged in public over these killings and disappearances, as of course they should over those in North Yorkshire, with the relevant National Park Authorities responses also given wide publicity. both to nail the lie that game shooting is intolerant of persecution, to put pressure those organisations, those involved and authority to put even more resources into stopping this routine criminal carnage.

  2. I wrote to the Chair of the Peak Park Authority in June after the first publicity of the Peak District wildlife crime surge. The reply was very much the same old stuff about how the Authority reminds the Moorland Association that raptor persecution is a criminal act and how the Rural Crime Team take wildlife crime seriously. This level of crime deserves a condemnation of the whole grouse shooting industry and this is something the National Park Authority consistently fails to do. There are further crimes which have not yet been publicised. The blog report hints at a lack of police action, I think we can be sure there’ll be no North Yorks style raids and none of these cases will result in a prosecution. But we’ve had a couple of Peregrine nests on Kinder and that’s what we’ll hear about instead.

    1. I’m sure you are right Bob as you know this area and its authorities far better than me, all very familiar and depressing, its what North Yorkshire used to be like, so there is some hope. Can others help to put pressure on the complacent, I always found talking to the MA ( in those days it was Martin Gillibrand) a complete waste of time they were the problem not solution.

    2. On Friday 24th July the Yorkshire Post published a letter from Richard Bailey Co-ordinator of the Peak District Moorland Grpup.
      It was headed “Celebrate our Wildlife Gains” and began as follows:-
      “Moorland game keepers have recently spotted a bearded vulture on the Peak District (sic) – just the second time one has been seen in the UK. This is great news and praise must be give to land managers who look after the upland habitat.
      All grouse moor estates are proud collaborators in the Peak District Bird of Prey Initiative, which has resulted in a tremendously successful breeding season for key raptors in the Peak District; Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin.”

      This man clearly doesn’t read either the Yorkshire Post or the Derbyshire Times regularly.

  3. What this whole episode of illegal killing of raptors has so clearly demonstrated is that within the grouse moor management there is a systemic culture of criminality, raptor and wildlife persecution.

    The evidence, which has emerged this year, to support this claim is indisputable.
    These crimes have occurred during public lockdown.
    Who during this period was on these grouse moors, with the means and motivation to carry out these crimes?

    This evidence demonstrates a continuation of the historic mismanagement of our uplands for grouse shooting, with both the illegal killing wildlife and dubious conservation practices which take place.

    The fact so much raptor persecution is happening within our National Parks, is a clear indication that the UK concept of national parks, and their management as a place of conservation and protection for the natural environment is flawed. The legislation underpinning the National Parks appears to be ineffective and insufficient.

    There is now a very strong case, that all non domestic, and all land not deemed as agricultural, within National Parks should come under public ownership and state control; with a complete ban on all forms of shooting or hunting for so called “sporting purposes”.

    The land, would of course still need to be managed to ensure sound conservation took place, but this would be entirely based on environmental, and wildlife issues; and not so a small “landed class” could entertain themselves in way so at odds with public sentiment.

    Legislation should be introduced to underpin this, with very harsh penalties for those breaking the law.

    The National Parks Authority working alongside the local police should be given all the investigative powers and tools to effectively police this legislation, to ensure perpetrators were swiftly brought to justice.
    Courts should be given sentencing guidelines, to reflect the growing concern the public have towards environmental and conservation issues.

    Western politicians and society are quick to condemn African governments for the illegal poaching or the mismanagement of their national parks.
    Is it not time this condemnation was turned inward, and the failure of our politicians to act to protect our natural environment and wildlife was laid bare before public?
    A public, who rightly would probably be very angry for this failure to protect what is within our national parks.

  4. I`m convinced that the the shooting brigade, in all it`s forms, just hate to be liked. They seem hell bent on wildlife destruction and alienating themselves. They are busy “sawing off the limb on which they perch”. I cannot get my head around why they don`t try to clean up their act to save their precious sport.
    Troublesome football fans got “banned for life”. This resulted in a win/win for everyone !

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