Further to this morning’s blog about Suffolk Police finding five shot goshawks on Monday, that had been dumped at the edge of the King’s Forest near Thetford (see here), the RSPB has issued an appeal for information and is offering a £5K reward, it’s highest ever.
Here is the joint statement from the RSPB and Suffolk Police:
Five young birds of prey, identified as rare Goshawks, have been found dead in suspicious circumstances in a Suffolk Forest.
The birds were discovered on Monday 16 January at the edge of Kings Forest and reported to Suffolk Police, who x-rayed the birds as part of their investigation and found all five birds to contain multiple pieces of shot.
All birds of prey are protected by law, and to kill or injure one could result in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
The RSPB is working with Suffolk Police to help identify the culprit and has offered a reward of £5,000 to anyone who comes forward with information which leads to a conviction. This is the highest amount ever offered by the conservation charity, which has described the incident as ‘Utterly despicable.’
Goshawks are elusive birds of prey, around the size of a Buzzard, with yellow eyes and streaked undersides. They live quietly in forests in a handful of locations in the UK including Thetford Forest where these birds were found.
Mark Thomas, the RSPB’s Head of Investigations UK, said: “Anyone who values the natural world and abhors those who actively and criminally look to destroy it will feel as outraged as we do about this utterly despicable incident. We are calling on anyone who has information to come forward to the police.”
The RSPB and other specialists are assisting the police with their ongoing investigation.
The illegal killing of birds of prey remains a widespread national problem. The RSPB’s annual Birdcrime report for 2021, published in November 2022, revealed 108 confirmed incidents of birds of prey being shot, trapped or poisoned. However, the true number is likely to be far higher.
The report also found that Norfolk had the highest number of confirmed raptor persecution incidents than any other county in 2021.
Sergeant Brian Calver from Suffolk Police said: “This is a serious wildlife crime against an amazing schedule one bird of prey that was once driven to extinction in Britain. There is no place for such activity in modern times. Whoever is responsible for this needs to be brought to justice and I’d urge anybody with any information whatsoever to let us know.”
If you have any information, please call Suffolk Police on 101 and quote crime reference 37/3027/23. Alternatively, to get in touch anonymously, call the RSPB’s dedicated Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101.
UPDATE 5pm: Wild Justice also offers £5,000 reward (here)
UPDATE 19th January 2023: Crowdfunder launched to increase reward for information on five shot goshawks found in Suffolk (here)