Two more griffons electrocuted in Andalusia

The range of threats affecting vultures is relatively well known, and indeed has been thoroughly discussed in the Vulture multi-Species Action Plan that the VCF has been co-drafting on behalf of the Convention for Migratory Species (CMS), to be presented and adopted at the Conference of Parties later this year. Poison is still the biggest killer of vultures both in Africa, Asian and Europe, but electrocution comes a close second in many parts of the world – as we were reminded this week, when two griffons were found dead, electrocuted, at the base of an electricity pylon in Andalusia.

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The Hen Harrier issue through the eyes of Natural England.

Rob Cooke (Natural England Director) wrote the attached leaked email 6 February 2017:

Hen Harriers

Hen Harrier Day 2016-3

Hen harriers (HHs) are having a rough time in England. Although juvenile birds have a high natural mortality there is plenty to suggest that illegal persecution is ongoing, either through shooting or disturbance. The level of persecution is such that it is undoubtedly having an impact on the conservation status of the species in England.  Amongst a diet usually dominated by meadow pipits and voles can be red grouse, which is where the problem arises.  As a semi-colonial nester HHs can predate high numbers of grouse which can bring them into conflict with grouse shooting.

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Bearded Vultures: First two baby bearded vultures of the season hatched in Guadalentin

 Bearded-Vulture-Web

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Buzzard found shot at the side of road in Essex.

The three images below show an injured Buzzard being treated by the South Essex Wildlife Hospital. The bird was found in a very weak state  by the side of a road, and at the time was assumed to have been a road traffic casualty. After veterinary staff at the hospital had x-rayed the bird , the reason it wasn’t flying was obvious. Several shot gun pellets were lodged in its body, wing and leg. Vet tom removed as many as he could once the bird was strong enough for surgery. It is recovering on a stable and does seem much stronger now. We hope to release it soon but must be sure it is able to survive in the wild.

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Birth control measures for Wensleydale grey squirrels. How will this effect predating raptors like Goshawk?

Goshawk-predating-grey-webGrey squirrels in North Yorkshire are being given contraceptives in their food in a bid to control their population. The move is being made in Wensleydale to help the red squirrels which live there thrive. The red squirrel has been in severe decline in the UK as the greys, which are not a native species, increase. It is believed that greys act as carriers of squirrel pox – which kills reds.

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Should wildlife crime be enforced by tougher legislation?

Almost 200 reports of shooting, trapping and destruction of birds of prey were received by the RSPB in 2015, the charity said. Some 64 out of the 196 reports were confirmed, including the shooting or attempted shooting of 46 birds of prey, including 16 buzzards, 11 peregrines, three red kites, one red-footed falcon and one hen harrier, a new report from the RSPB said.

There were also 50 reported incidents of wildlife poisoning, including confirmed cases of 15 buzzards, four red kites and three peregrine falcons falling victim to poison baits.

Illegal persecution of birds of prey is still happening too regularly in the UK countryside, the RSPB said, and it called for tougher legislation and enforcement to allow the birds to thrive.

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The corpses of  4 Peregrines, 1 adult and 3 chicks shot to death on the nest with a rifle. The perpetrators of this crime were never brought to justice.

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Police warning following the discovery of two red kite poisoned in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

Wildlife-poisoning-poster-1-212x300Police are appealing for information and warning about the dangers of illegal bird of prey poisoning. Two red kites were found poisoned in the Nidderdale area of North Yorkshire in 2016. One was found near Pateley Bridge on 12 March 2016. Tests have attributed its death to alphachloralose. Traces of aldicarb and three rodenticides (difenacoum, bromadiolone and brodifacoum) were also identified.

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The North West Raptor Group trial night vision video in the Forest of Bowland.


 

Last year rumours persisted that at long last a pair of Eagle Owls in the Forest of Bowland successfully produced three fledged young. This was confirmed after the nesting site was featured by the One Show last year. The nesting ledge containing the three chicks was clearly visible, the camera taking the footage was located many hundreds of yards away.

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Another hen harrier disappears on north Yorkshire moorland. A total to five lost in four months.

Natural England Press release

North Yorkshire Police are appealing for information following the loss of a hen harrier named Mick in Upper Swaledale.

Mick, a young male, fledged in Northumberland last summer. He was fitted with a satellite tag in July by a hen harrier expert from Natural England. His tag stopped transmitting on 21 December 2016 in the Thwaite area of North Yorkshire. A search of the area has been carried out but no trace of the bird or equipment has been found.

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Isn’t it time to speak out about the killing of raptors in the Forest of Bowland?

It was distressing to read about the illegal killing of raptors in East Anglia and the claim made by the RSPB that the North East of England is one of the worst areas for shooting and attacking birds of prey  in our country. Well done to the RSPB for exposing these ongoing atrocities.  But this begs the question why has no one, including the RSPB, spoken out about the wide scale killing of ‘protected’ raptors taking place throughout the Forest of Bowland? The collapse of an entire regional Peregrine population from this relatively small moorland region in in West Lancashire is unprecedented.

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