Trap­pers who prey on birds need catch­ing

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

AF­TER 40 years of writ­ing about bird of prey per­se­cu­tion in the UK, it is with great sad­ness that I have to re­port that it is still hap­pen­ing on my own doorstep.

The os­prey pic­tured here was found on Der­byshire Level, Glos­sop, with two bro­ken legs and close to death - its in­juries most likely caused by an il­le­gal trap.

Der­byshire Po­lice and the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Birds (RSPB) have of­fered a £1,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to a con­vic­tion.

The bird was dis­cov­ered on Septem­ber 9, 2015, and a post mortem re­vealed that both its legs had been re­cently bro­ken; in­juries which were con­sis­tent with it be­ing caught in a spring trap prior to its death.

Ospreys are rare vis­i­tors to the Peak District and this would have been on mi­gra­tion to West Africa.

It is highly un­likely that the per­pe­tra­tor, if in­deed it was a trap, would have ex­pected to catch an os­prey, but this in­ci­dent demon­strates the in­dis­crim­i­nate na­ture of all traps, and all other il­le­gal meth­ods of killing birds of prey, in­clud­ing cage traps and poi­son.

Tra­di­tional ex­cuses in­clude: ‘It was meant for crows, your Hon­our’.

There is no ex­cuse but the Devil is in the de­tail, and to be sure of a con­vic­tion there prob­a­bly need to be two or three wit­nesses as well as pho­to­graphic or video ev­i­dence, which in­cludes im­ages of the per­son, for ex­am­ple, set­ting or bait­ing the trap and then re­turn­ing to check the trap.

I am ashamed to say that the High Peak fea­tures fairly of­ten to­wards the top of the Per­se­cu­tion of Birds of Prey Charts and it has even topped the charts on oc­ca­sion.

Also, just a few days later on Septem­ber 30, 2015, a buz­zard was found shot dead close to Hurst Reser­voir, Glos­sop - only a short dis­tance from where the os­prey was found.

This fol­lows the shoot­ing of an­other buz­zard in the same area in March 2014.

RSPB in­ves­ti­ga­tions of­fi­cer Alan Firth said: “Yet again we are see­ing the sense­less killing of fan­tas­tic birds of prey in the Na­tional Park.”

Sergeant Dar­ren Belfield from Der­byshire Po­lice said: “I would ap­peal to any­one who might have any in­for­ma­tion as to who may be re­spon­si­ble for th­ese cruel acts to con­tact the po­lice.

“The con­tin­ued per­se­cu­tion of birds of prey in the Peak District is to­tally un­ac­cept­able.

“If you sus­pect some­one of com­mit­ting any crimes against wildlife, act now. Your call will be dealt with in con­fi­dence.

“If you don’t feel you can talk to the po­lice, pass the in­for­ma­tion to us through Crimestop­pers, ei­ther by tele­phone or the in­ter­net.”

Al­ter­na­tively, read­ers can pass in­for­ma­tion to my­self and I will pass it on to the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties.

Al­though th­ese birds met their fate very close to my gallery in Pad­field, just two miles to be pre­cise, such per­se­cu­tion un­for­tu­nately oc­curs across the UK.

The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glos­sop

●● This os­prey, caught in a trap in Glos­sop, did not sur­vive the hor­rific in­juries it suf­fered

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.