Green fields highlighted by sunrays through heavy clouds from Curbar Edge

Shot Peregrine found on Dove Stone Nature Reserve in Peak District National Park

Thursday 2 May 2024

Peregrine Falcon - RSPB image

[Published in coordination with the RSPB and Derbyshire Police]

On 4 April 2024 an adult female Peregrine was found on Dove Stone nature reserve north of Woodhead reservoir, near Crowden, in Longdendale, in the Peak District National Park.

The bird was taken to a local veterinary practice where they confirmed it had been shot and due to the extent of its injuries, it was euthanised. The incident was immediately reported to Derbyshire Police.

The RSPB has offered a £5,000 reward for information which leads to a successful conviction for this wildlife crime. This amount has been matched by the Peak District National Park Authority, taking the reward to £10,000.

X-rays showed shotgun pellets lodged in the elbow and shoulder of the bird’s left wing. An expert post-mortem also revealed a puncture wound in the bird’s chest caused by shotgun pellets and concluded that the bird was shot at or near the location it was found, as the injuries it sustained would have prevented it from flying.

Although Peregrine populations are recovering in many lowland areas across the UK, breeding Peregrines are missing from some upland areas in England due to illegal persecutionThe RSPB has recorded 182 confirmed incidents of Peregrine persecution across the UK from 2003 to 2022. Between 2018 and 2022 alone, 30 Peregrines were killed or injured in England, including 19 which were shot. Data shows that nationally a significant proportion of raptor persecution incidents are linked to land managed for gamebird shooting. In 2022 at least 64% of confirmed incidents of raptor persecution in the UK were associated with land managed for gamebird shooting.

Mark Thomas, RSPB Head of Investigations UK: "To think that this stunning bird was found shot on Dove Stone nature reserve - a place which we help manage for the benefit and safety of species such as the Peregrine - is shocking.

"This is just the latest incident of raptor persecution in the Dark Peak, a notorious blackspot for birds of prey, where these species should naturally be thriving. If anyone has any information about this crime, please contact us or the police."

Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, Phil Mulligan added: "It's deeply concerning to see a species as iconic as the Peregrine shot within our National Park, and so much more distressing during the crucial breeding season for many of our birds of prey. This is therefore not just the loss of a single bird of prey, but impacting on a potential further generation when every one of these charismatic raptors counts.

"Our birds of prey of all shapes and sizes have a right to call the Peak District home without fear of falling victim to acts of wildlife crime. That’s why we have committed to supporting the reward for information in this case, and I would urge anyone to contact the police regarding this or other potential incidents that may be putting wildlife at risk."

Chris Wilkinson, Derbyshire Police Rural Crime Team "It is a sad fact that bird of prey crime is still prevalent in Derbyshire and particularly concerning is that this incident appears to have occurred on an RSPB reserve. We are keen to speak with anyone who may have information about this crime".

If you have any information, please call Derbyshire Police on 101 and quote crime reference 24000198336. Alternatively, you can call the RSPB anonymously on their dedicated Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101.

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