Hunt for Criminal Who Blasted Rare Falcon
January 28, 2005
By Wesley Johnson, PA - The Scotsman News
A wildlife charity today condemned the shooting of a rare and protected bird near to a nature reserve.
The body of an adult female Peregrine Falcon was found dead in a field near to the Bempton Cliffs nature reserve in East Yorkshire by a farmer last weekend.
Humberside Police today appealed for help to trace the killer after post mortem analysis revealed the falcon had been shot by someone using a shotgun.
RSPB Bempton Cliffs warden Trevor Charlton said: "We were hopeful that peregrine falcons might once again colonise the cliffs at our Bempton reserve, giving pleasure to thousands of visitors, and the death of a female bird is a real set-back.
"Yet another rare bird of prey has been killed by a criminal act of destruction.
"I am shocked by news of this incident and angry that such a spectacular and exciting bird has died in this way."
It is thought the bird may have migrated to England from north east Europe.
Peregrine falcons are rare breeding birds and only 1,402 pairs exist in the UK, according to the most recent survey carried out in 2002.
The falcon, a protected species which is classified as a rare bird under schedule one of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1988, is the fastest bird in the world and can reach speeds of more than 180kph (112mph) when chasing after prey.
An RSPB spokesperson said peregrines continue to suffer regular illegal human persecution and a person convicted of killing a peregrine falcon could be jailed for up to six months and/or receive a fine of up to £5,000.
Pc Chris Hine, a wildlife officer for Humberside Police, said: "It is a serious offence to kill a Schedule 1 rare bird and I would ask anyone who knows anything about this offence to call the police."
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