RSPB launches appeal to find people who poisoned iconic birds
The RSPB has teamed up with two county police forces to issue a plea for information after the recent deaths of three birds of prey in East Anglia.
Two iconic species - the marsh harrier and red kite - have been the victims of illegal poisoning by a lethal pesticide. The poison is thought to have been laced on baits left out in the countryside.
A breeding pair of marsh harriers were tragically discovered dead, adjacent to the RSPB’s Nene Washes Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire, this April.
A red kite was then discovered in Old Leake, Boston, in Lincolnshire in May.
The government’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme ran toxicology tests, which confirmed that the birds were all poisoned using the banned pesticide, Aldicarb.
No one has been found responsible for either offence, and the Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) who fund the Scheme has now closed its investigations into both of the incidents.
According to the RSPB, PC Bradshaw, from Cambridge Constabulary, said: “We would urge anyone with information on these or other poisoning cases to come forward and talk to us. It’s absolutely vital that we make sure that this kind of illegal activity targeted at iconic species doesn’t continue to happen in the region.”
PC Nick Willey, from Lincolnshire Police, also spoke on the issue, saying: “We are committed to working with multi-agencies to stamp out wildlife crime and we will do our best to draw these incidents to a conclusion.”
The National Wildlife Crime Unit also got involved, with their Investigative Support Officer, Alan Roberts, saying: “These are two species that are making a welcome comeback in certain areas of the UK. A lot of people travel to East Anglia because of the diversity of wildlife, which in turn boosts the local economy.
“The pointless killing of these birds in such an indiscriminate way stands to undermine the hard work of a lot of people. We will continue to strive to seek out and prosecute individuals involved in this sort of offence “
The RSPB, who brought this case to our attention has also spoken out on the matter, with their Senior Investigations Officer, Mark Thomas, saying: “These are tragic and completely mindless acts of wildlife vandalism. East Anglia was the primary location where the marsh harrier recovered from near extinction some forty years ago, so to think that a breeding pair has been wiped out so close to a nature reserve is sickening.
“The widely sought introduction of custodial offences for the possession of banned pesticides like Aldicarb could happen tomorrow if the Government is serious about protecting birds of prey across the UK.”
If you have any information about these two cases, or other acts of wildlife crime, then please call the Police on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact the RSPB Investigations Team on 01767 680551.
Picture: Lip Kee