Yet another dead buzzard has been found in North Dorset.
Whilst the cause of death has yet to be ascertained (presumably the carcass has been sent for post mortem), yesterday PC Rob Hammond warned the public to keep their dogs on leads to avoid the risk of them coming into contact with potential poisoned baits.
Well done to PC Hammond for putting out this timely warning. Even though poisoning has not yet been confirmed, the potential risk to the public and their dogs is high so he’s done exactly the right thing.
Dorset is fast becoming quite the hotspot for raptor persecution. I’ve been looking through some reports from the last few years and have found the following incidents of raptor persecution recorded in the county:
May 2018: Buzzard found shot dead (here).
May 2018: Suspicious deaths of two barn owls and several more buzzards (here).
March 2020: Disturbance of nesting peregrines (here).
April 2020: Several buzzards were found dead within close proximity to each other in the Ashmore Wood area near Blandford. These birds were sent for testing and enquiries remain ongoing (here).
August 2020: Two buzzards, one dead, were found near the body of a rabbit. An owl and a further two buzzards were also found. Analysis has confirmed Brodifacoum in the buzzard which is likely to have caused the death. The second buzzard and the owl had background residues and the analysis on the rabbit was negative.
September 2020: A dead buzzard was found on a bridleway, it had been shot.
November 2020: A dead red kite and rat were found near a footpath. Analysis has confirmed Bendiocarb in the stomach contents of the red kite and in pots removed from a vehicle and a sachet in a shed, which is likely to be the cause of death. No residues were found in the rat.
February 2021: A buzzard and a red kite were found in a wooded area. Analysis has confirmed Brodifacoum in the liver of the red kite which will have contributed to its death, the levels of Brodifacoum in the buzzard are borderline and uncertain if the exposure contributed to its death.
March 2021: A multi-agency raid was carried out on a shooting estate in North Dorset. A number of dead birds of prey and several pesticides, including banned substances, were located at the premises. A firearm was also recovered (here).
January 2022: A dead white-tailed eagle was found poisoned on a shooting estate in North Dorset. The post mortem found its liver contained 7 x lethal dose of rodenticide Brodifacoum. Inexplicably, Dorset Police closed the investigation before conducting a search (here).
February 2022: Another white-tailed eagle was suspected to have been poisoned on another shooting estate in North Dorset. This one survived (here).
February 2022: A dead buzzard and a dead red kite are found dead on a shooting estate in North Dorset, suspected poisoned. Toxicology results awaited (here).
April 2022: A dead buzzard found dead in the Ashmore area. Toxicology results awaited.
It’s pretty clear that Dorset has a raptor persecution issue and I understand there are several more investigations that have yet to be reported in the public domain. Given these incidents, and more, it’s astonishing that the local MP, Chris Loder, thinks the police shouldn’t ‘waste resources’ on investigating wildlife crimes.
It’s even more astounding that Dorset Police shut down the poisoned eagle investigation, without conducting a search, and continue to refuse any explanation for their decision and yet still the top brass claim to be taking raptor persecution ‘seriously’, not that anyone believes them anymore.
It’s heartening then to see on-the-ground officers like PC Rob Hammond, trying to do the right thing. I wonder how long it’ll be before he’s told to drop the case and/or stop investigating wildlife crime, as has his colleague, PC Claire Dinsdale?