North Yorkshire. A region blighted with grouse shooting estates. A region on its way to becoming synonymous with wildlife crime. Even the local newspapers recognise the appalling record for raptor persecution of this part of the UK: In July last year the Yorkshire Post printed a list of SIXTEEN raptor persecution incidents from just January 2018 to July 2020 under the heading ‘North Yorkshire – a black hole for raptors‘. In October of the same year the Post quoted a frustrated Guy Shorrock, a senior and highly-respected member of the RSPB’s Investigations Team, saying that “North Yorkshire sadly has a diabolical reputation for the illegal shooting, trapping and poisoning of birds of prey. I have been picking up the bodies of raptors for nearly 30 years, and in the current ecological emergency, this cannot continue. Our wildlife needs better protection.”
Our wildlife needs better protection. Yes, it certainly does. Better protection, better enforcement, and an end to the grouse shooting industry that has been eradicating raptors in North Yorkshire for decades…
But as yet another bird of prey is shot in North Yorkshire, just how convinced are campaigners and activists that anything will change anytime soon? Not convinced at all. And why should we be? Grouse estates have been illegally killing birds of prey for decades. Barely anyone gets convicted. Much-needed legislation ends up with voluntary codes of practice that are widely ignored.
In fact, while our statutory agencies continue to walk in lockstep with the shooting industry there is zero chance at all.
Police appeal for information after peregrine falcon found shot near Selby Abbey
On 7 May 2021, an 8 year old female peregrine falcon was discovered in the grounds of Selby Abbey with injuries which meant she was unable to fly.
The peregrine was rescued and x-rayed by a local falconry specialist vet, Mark Naguib, who found a number of shotgun pellets throughout the bird’s body. The peregrine is ringed by the British Ornithology Trust so was able to be traced back to being released as a chick near Newark eight years ago.
The peregrine falcon is now in the expert care of local wildlife rehabilitator, Jean Thorpe, who will give her the best possible chance of making a recovery.
North Yorkshire Police Constable Sarah Ward said:
“Peregrine falcons are a protected schedule one species and it is shocking that anyone would target one in this cruel and callous way.
“Our county should be a haven for birds of prey and this type of cruelty will not be tolerated.
“If anyone has information about this worrying incident please get in touch and report to us. You can either call 101 or if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
RSPB Investigations Officer, Jack Ashton-Booth said:
“We are appalled at this deliberate and illegal attack on a protected peregrine falcon. The bird was riddled with shot, including one piece lodged in its head. Incredibly, it is still alive but it’s touch and go.
“We urge anyone with information to contact North Yorkshire Police immediately. Alternatively, if you wish to speak out in confidence, please don’t hesitate to call our Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101.
“Peregrines are incredibly good at adapting and are increasingly living alongside us in our towns and cities, and are a joy to see nesting on tall buildings like cathedrals. Nature is in trouble, and we must embrace it or risk losing it.”
If you have any information about this incident please call North Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting ref: 12210119786North Yorkshire Police, Police appeal for information, 20 May 21