Trappers who prey on birds need catching
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