Bird persecutions ‘continuing’ across South East England

editorial image

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is concerned that illegal persecution of birds is continuing after receiving further reports of peregrines being shot in the South East in 2017.

Following a report – which found that 39 incidents of bird of prey persecution were reported in the South East of England during 2016 – the RSPB has called for police and other enforcing authorities to make full use of all existing powers to protect birds of prey.

The South East of England was responsible for eight per cent of all reported incidents in the UK including shooting, poisoning, trapping and other incidents of illegal persecution, according to the RSPB’s 2016 report.

On May 10, 2017, staff from East Sussex Wildlife Animal Rescue were called to recover a peregrine falcon near woods at Lunsford Cross, Ninfield, after it had been shot on two separate occasions.

At the time, the RSPB and Sussex Police appealed for people to come forward if they had any information.

Bob Elliot, RSPB head of investigations, said: “This latest Birdcrime report continues to highlight that in the UK we have a major issue with birds of prey being deliberately and illegally killed, despite having full legal protection.

“This type of crime has serious consequences for the populations of species, such as the hen harrier, and we must see a change in attitude and more effective law enforcement to protect these birds for years to come.”

There were no prosecutions arising from a confirmed UK incident in 2016 for the first time in 30 years.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, added: “Birds of prey bring our skies to life.

“There is nothing like seeing a diving peregrine or a skydancing hen harrier. The sights of these spectacular birds are something we should all be able to enjoy, unfortunately illegal activity is stopping this and preventing the birds from flourishing.

“There are laws in place to protect these birds but they are clearly not being put into action. We need governments across the UK to do more to tackle illegal killing to protect our raptors for future generations to enjoy.”

The RSPB has encouraged people to step forward and report wildlife crimes stating that ‘human intervention can be the difference between life and death for many birds’.