[Goshawk photo by Colin Bradshaw]
Staffordshire Police are appealing for information this evening after the discovery of a shot goshawk.
Unfortunately the details of this latest wildlife crime are vague, even though raptor persecution is supposed to be a national wildlife crime priority. This is what was posted on the Rural & Wildlife Crime team’s Facebook page:
The post doesn’t say when this bird was found, but the incident reference number suggests it may have been on 21st July 2021. There isn’t any information about the type of weapon used (e.g. shotgun, air rifle) nor any specific detail about the location. I couldn’t find any press statement/appeal on the police website.
If you can assist the police investigation, please get in touch with them.
10 thoughts on “Goshawk found shot in Staffordshire had to be euthanised”
Supports my view that there needs to be much much tougher restrictions on both shotguns and air rifles. It is long overdue
I agree with that.
The restriction put on air weapons in Scotland took a lot of them out of the hands of low life louts who previously wandered about shooting at anything and everything.
Insofar as weapons requiring a shotgun or firearm certificate there is a need for very strict enforcement on the type of people who can have such guns. Too many many who are not of good character can possess them.
Hi Dougie, the whole system is wholly unfit for purpose form both sides of the fence. From the law-abiding gun owner side the Police granting and renewals system is very nit-pickety but in pretty meaningless ways. And on the other side it is glaringly obvious that any wildlife crime conviction committed with a shotgun or firearm should also constitute a shotgun / firearms offence – and the person should be banned for life from holding guns. This would make a few of them stop and think a bit.
But the big elephant in the room is mental health. When a keeper (as an example) is suffering from mental health problems he is often very reluctant to seek help from his Doctor. The reason being that the keeper knows that the police Renewals Officer will look into this, perhaps to talk to the Doctor and will potentially decline the keepers renewal application. To my knowledge to date no-one has unpicked this one and there are a good few troubled souls out there refusing to seek help and the system is putting them and others at risk. And what does a man from that background tend to do when in this predicament? Head to the pub.
Yeah I remember those bastards from my childhood right up until far too recently – I’ve had pellets fired in my general direction as a ‘joke’. Sadly I think a lot still goes on, but it’s far less conspicuous than it used to be. Someone got shopped to the police for doing so in our local wood. He claimed he’d been shooting rabbits, but he was seen aiming into the trees – it’s suspected he’d been after one of our buzzards, a fair size target when perched on a branch. I’d still love to see a major public awareness drive stressing the illegality of casually shooting wildlife, the harm done to pets and livestock and to encourage the public to report incidents. The lockdown encouraged a lot of these scumbags into the open, too many are still there.
On 23rd July it was announced on this blog of the formation of a new coalition of organisations – Aim to Sustain. According to its own website the aim of this group is to work “closely to protect and promote sustainable shooting, biodiversity and the rural community.”
Within the various web pages Aim to Sustain claims to recognise “the importance of leading on animal welfare.”
Since the 23rd of July raptor Persecution has reported 3 separate incidents of raptor persecution. One of these incidents included the vile use of poisons. This latest one refers to a bird which due to its injuries was clearly suffering and had to be euthanized. This has to be an animal welfare issue?
I can’t see any mention of any raptor persecution incidents in the Aim to Sustain press releases.
If Aim to Sustain is going to do what it claims, and protect and promote sustainable shooting and lead on animal welfare then surely part of that strategy has to be to tackle the illegal killing and persecution of birds of prey?
Shouldn’t a meaningful strategy also include publicizing and condemning all such incidents, so that its members can assist in any police investigations, especially when those incidents include the use Carbofuran (which was withdrawn from use in the UK in 2001), or animal welfare incidents where a shot bird has been left to die suffering from its injuries? (something which doesn’t meet the BASC codes of good practice)
It may be that I am being unfair, and the individual organisations which make up Aim to Sustain have already made press releases.
But for a new umbrella organisation, which I would have hoped, would have used its position to reach the widest possible audience with its press releases. The fact it appears as though this hasn’t happened is very disappointing.
The enthusiasm and publicity which any organisation sets in its early days of existence, often sets the tone for how that organisation will go on to perform.
Hopefully those politicians who Aim to Sustain hope to lobby, will display the intelligence and wit to question why this group doesn’t appear to be using its position to help tackle raptor persecution by reporting on and condemning all incidents of raptor persecution, especially ones where animal welfare is an issue.
(If Ruth can mange this all by herself through the Raptor Persecution blog, surely Aim to Sustain with all the people who work within the underlying organizations can manage something??)
Or is Aim to Sustain not really about sustainability, biodiversity and leading on animal welfare, but in fact just another smokescreen by the shooting industry to curry political support from those politicians with questionable ethics??
(Sorry, I have gone off on a tangent to what is reported as another poor witness appeal by the police, but it is all part of the failure of our society to properly tackle raptor persecution!! It both saddens and angers me to read these reports- and I am fed up with a game shooting industry which can’t or won’t get its house in order, and use every opportunity to help ride our society of the wildlife criminals.)
I think an undercover cop should visit the nearest pheasant pens posing as a wildlife photographer and when challenged by the keeper say it was suggested as a good place to see Goshawk. The probability is that given how easy Goshawks are to trap, poison and/or shoot ( or remove nest trees) plus the huge amounts of suitable habitat we have that this is a frequent occurrence much as killing Buzzards, Peregrines or Sparrowhawks is. There is no other explanation for the current distribution and absence or relative rarity in otherwise ideal places with driven shooting. All shoots need to be licenced at the very least, although I would also like to see severe limits on released game birds or even a ban on their release. How can claims of sustainable shooting not be a laughing stock when so many birds need to be released. Yet all shooting organisations “claim” they all operate to the highest standards including being totally opposed to persecution yet remain completely silent about each and every individual incident. It is long since any of them collectively or individually had any credibility and any with charitable status should have that challenged. Meanwhile another fantastic bird has be illegally shot, bastards all of them and their apologists.
In my area raven, buzzards, otters and pine marten have come back. Marsh harriers have been seen inspecting local reedbeds and even red kites occasionally make an appearance. It seems like it was only last week that I heard the jaw dropping news there beavers living wild on the Tay, yet today I could literally walk for five to six hours to get somewhere a long, long way from the Tay where I might see some. As far as goshawk are concerned absolutely zilch. There’s an extensive area of mixed woodland not far from me where buzzards and even ravens have started nesting again. It’s absolutely heaving with corvids especially rooks and jackdaws, but plenty of magpies and some jays too. Add in grey squirrels and plentiful wood pigeon and there can’t possibly be many better places for goshawks anywhere. Yet over decades a goshawk has only been spotted there twice, and that’s with significant numbers of staff who are well up on wildlife and conservation.
There’s not much shooting where I am, but I suspect it’s enough to make the goshawk the exception that proves the rule that much of our wildlife is safer in the central belt of Scotland than it is away in the ‘wild’ bits. I obviously don’t buy into the crap that crows and magpies are exterminating ground nesting or song birds, but not that much preys on them or adult wood pigeons for that matter with the exception of the goshawk. I would be much happier if they were back at full strength, if there’s any real imbalance goshawk will do a far better job of correcting it than somebody with a shotgun arbitrarily deciding 4 jays, 12 crows, 18 magpies need to be killed, or far more likely they all need to be obliterated.
Gamekeepers in my area, E. Hampshire, are doing a great job ridding the forests of goshawks. These fine birds are trying to establish themselves here. We are so well forested here and pigeons are almost in plague proportions. When one does show up, the forest floor gets littered with wood pigeon carcases and feather patches. Their magical presence lasts about a month then all goes quiet again, back to feed bins, pheasants and a somehow darker, lifeless place.
All the creatures that the gamekeeper shoots is more or less the same as what the goshawk kills/feeds on. Why they cannot respect this bird i just fail to understand. Do we need to get into the mind of a gamekeeper and try to address it from there? I cannot carry on hating gamekeepers for ever. I would love to meet a balanced, wildlife savvy gamekeeper, who doesn’t have anything to hide.
The last chat I had with a gk involved me saying “you`ve got goshawks in this forest” ….”I hope not” was his reply
Please pass on my sincere condolences to Chris.