Peregrine suffers appalling injuries after being being shot & trapped in Suffolk

This is grim.

Press statement from Suffolk Constabulary, 16th May 2022.


A wild peregrine falcon found badly injured after being illegally trapped and shot has been put down.

The bird was discovered by a member of the public in a field in Cratfield on 15 March and taken to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Barns. However, its injuries were too severe to save it. Both of its legs were badly broken and it was also found to have been shot. Police believe the bird was caught in an illegal trap and released alive but injured and officers would like to hear from anybody who could help find those responsible.

Sgt Brian Calver, head of Suffolk Police’s Rural Crime Unit, said:

These iconic birds are not a common site in Suffolk and are vulnerable to human interference. Populations are improving slowly but persecution by humans remains one of the biggest threats to them. These are schedule one birds and the fastest animal on the planet. To trap any bird in such a way is cruel but to release an illegally trapped bird with broken legs is horrible. This bird would not have been able to feed and if not found by a member of the public would have suffered a slow and painful death. The traps we suspect to have caused these injuries are indiscriminate when used unlawfully. I appeal to anybody who has any knowledge of this to get in touch with Suffolk Police, quoting crime reference 37/18491/22“.


23 thoughts on “Peregrine suffers appalling injuries after being being shot & trapped in Suffolk”

  1. I would be interested in others views and thoughts on the following:-

    I understand the new Animal Welfare Sentience Bill is now in the final stages before the Bill becomes law in the UK.
    This Bill is part of the governments action plan for animal welfare.

    With this Bill the Government will finally recognise all vertebrate animals as sentient beings, and any new legislation will have to take into account the fact that animals can experience feelings such as pain or joy.

    As our scientific knowledge of animals and birds increases, it is very clear that some species, Corvids, and Foxes for example are highly intelligent creatures.

    It should also by now be fairly obvious to most intelligent human beings that trapping a wild animal /bird either in a snare or cage will cause that creature suffering either from the pain of injuries caused by the actual trap/snare, or through the mental anguish at being trapped and unable to behave in its normal free state manner.

    So if the government is to properly recognise the welfare of all animals, which is what this new Bill purports to do. Where does that leave the use of traps and snares?

    Can it not be argued that the use of any trap or snare is at odds with parliaments recognition of animals as sentient beings, that their use must cause suffering and pain, and as such all traps and snares should be prohibited, unless they are so designed as to cause instant death? (Which is why the old style Fenn traps were banned for use for killing stoats- scientific studies indicated that frequently the trapped stoat took a long time to die and suffered an agonising death).

    And before we have farmers or game keepers getting all concerned about not being able to control pest species and prevent damage to crops or conserve endangered species – the issue here isn’t about the need to control pest species, but about the manner in which that can be done. So that the methods used are not at odds with the principles as set out in the Animal Welfare Sentience Bill.

    I would suggest that potentially this new legislation will be totally at odds with the use of crow or larsen traps, as there is no doubt the decoy birds must suffer when kept in a confined space and have to endure all manner of creatures coming up to the trap, or suffer the threat from other crows etc in whose territory they have been placed.
    Likewise there could be no excuse for using spring traps or snares which entrap a wild animal, which is probably the style of trap which has caused this peregrine such catastrophic injuries.

    What do other readers think?
    Once the Animal Welfare Sentience Bill is introduced, should there then be a complete review of the legislation regarding the use of snares and traps, so these barbaric contraptions are banned?
    It seems total nonsense to me to enact new legislation recognising animals as sentient beings, if old practices which are completely contrary to this principle are allowed to continue.

    1. I totally agree with you. There’s a most unpleasant man in the village who takes enormous pleasure in using Larson traps with both rooks and magpies used as decoys and they’re left in hot sunlight with just a dirty cat food tin of water. He regularly leaves the traps for several days without checking them and when a bird is successfully caught he clubs them to death in front of the decoys. I have released several of the decoys but it goes on. He also uses snares for foxes and leaves them unattended for several days too. As you say, both corvids and foxes are highly intelligent and suffer terribly from these traps but even the RSPB seem to think Larson traps are acceptable. I’m afraid I don’t.

      1. Sally – you need to report these incidents to the police. Photograph the traps n Snares and note times and what3words locations. Don’t touch anything. You are describing lots of offences. Good. Luck.

        1. Unfortunately all of these horrors happen on private land which I believe is legal? I have taken photos of the magpie decoy with its head bloodied where it had tried to escape. I released it.

          1. Hi Sally,

            It doesn’t matter if it’s on private land or public land, trap operators MUST comply with the conditions of the General Licences. What you’ve described here are multiple breaches, which are thus offences.

            Please report your concerns to your local police force (Dial 101 and ask for the Wildlife Crime Officer). Some police forces are excellent at responding, others are terrible, so I would also encourage you to contact the RSPB’s Investigations Team, who will be very interested in these traps and they can/will liaise with the local police if you don’t get any response from them Email:

            Please note: you are also committing an offence if you release decoy birds.


            1. Well in that case I will. As I said, I have several photos of the wretched decoy who was actually panting from the heat and terror, so I’ll pass them on to the police. I do realise that I shouldn’t have released the decoy but I just couldn’t leave it there to suffer any more. Thank you for your helpful advice. There really are some ghastly sadistic people who claim they care for wildlife.

              1. I believe that you are legally allowed to break the law in order to prevent a greater crime ( i.e. the deliberate ill treatment & suffering of an animal ) from being committed …….

                1. It’s a very grey area in terms of the law. How do you define ‘ill treatment and suffering’? (Rhetorical question, because one person’s interpretation will be different from another’s).

                  It’s a decision for the individual to take, on the day. Just bear in mind that you may be prosecuted and have to defend your actions in court.

                  1. Larson traps are not just used to trap corvids. That’s just a smokescreen the real intent of these traps is the killing of raptors

    2. Agreed. Thank you for a very balanced and accurate reflection on said issue. One day these clowns will finally get it.
      Frankly, the job title ‘Gamekeeper ‘ (sic) is untenable. Let them become wardens, rangers, etc. But stop persecution of wildlife for human ‘sport’ or pleasure.

  2. Even if only “accidental” it highlights the not giving a shit attitude of those responsible.
    But are the police being deliberately vague because they hope to investigate further?
    The way it reads to me – the bird must have had pellets in it from being shot an unknown period of time earlier.
    But then what happened?
    What type of trap?
    Are we talking a “legal and above board” Larsen trap – ie the door sprung shut and jammed its legs?
    Or a “clam trap” / “larsen mate” that sprung shut on it’s legs?
    I ask, as the springs in the “off the shelf” traps that I used (many moons ago) were generally not strong and quick enough to have broken a peregrines legs – a sp-hawk possibly. Was it a homemade trap with non-standard springs? Had the springs been replaced with stronger ones?
    Or was it not a Larsen – was it a Fenn 4 or Fenn 6 atop a fencepost?
    Likely more info will emerge.
    Either way to me a general thought Larsen trap should not be homemade as this is open to sly modifications. The lightweight wire ones from a well known company are compliant and do the job well enough. Likewise even theirs to me is an illegal trap if key components like springs are changed. Unethical or not – even when used legally – the law as ever is so deliberately shit that their misuse is I bet occurring with min 25% of all active Larsen traps right now.

    1. Sounds like a pole trap to me, probably these days using a Fenn trap. A peregrine would be very unlikely to go into a cage trap of any sort in my experience. The people who do this are barbarous scum, especially releasing a bird to die of either sepsis or starvation.

      1. Agreed Paul, but this is why I’m a bit puzzled – if it was an intentional pole-trap the culprit would have just buried it or burnt it (whatever is his usual policy) rather than releasing it & therefore nobody would have ever known a thing about it. Hopefully the wider area has been searched to check the legality of other devices of all types.

      1. Hi Keith, I get that is what is implied. But if they have some good reason to believe it was “released” (rather than getting free itself = pretty much impossible with a Fenn) then they ought to have a theory on the type of trap. You can guess why I am persisting? I want the police in cases like this to have a very close look at the legality of the Larsen traps they can find in the locality. I am guilty myself of seeing loads of Larsens and going “oh, it will likely be legal I haven’t got time for a walk close up”. But I should – we all should – a hell of a lot are illegal either by intent or carelesness.

  3. This is an appalling incident which has shocked all our members. It must be given high priority by the police and investigated thoroughly. We have grown accustomed to reports of the continued persecution of peregrines and other birds of prey in and around grouse shooting areas, but to have incidents of this nature outside such areas, and showing such a degree of cruelty, is both shocking and depressing.
    I am prepared to offer £1,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person or persons responsible for this atrocious crime, and would urge all concerned falcon watchers to do likewise.
    John Turner
    Hon. Chairman
    Shropshire Peregrine Group

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