Following on from the good news in the Irish Republic (see previous post), the news from Northern Ireland puts us firmly back in reality. A peregrine falcon found injured with gunshot wounds to its wing has had to be euthanised by a vet due to the extent of its injuries.
The bird was found by a member of the public in County Down and police have now launched an investigation, warning that those responsible will face court action.
A Northern Ireland Assembly member, Jim Wells, who is also a founder member of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group, said there had been a number of targetted attacks on peregrines in recent months, with a further two incidents reported earlier this autumn. Jim blamed what he described as ‘rogue elements’ in the pigeon fanciers/pigeon racing community for attacks on peregrines, although he thought this most recent incident was likely to have been a case of mistaken or accidental shooting by wildfowlers.
Four years ago, Jim’s group said they believed a ‘hit man’ had been hired by racing pigeon enthusiasts to shoot peregrines in Northern Ireland and said as many as 30 peregrines had been shot.
BBC news story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11573736