On Tuesday 6 September 2016, a critically-injured peregrine was found by walkers on a road in the Goyt Valley in Derbyshire. It was in shock and unable to fly.
The juvenile peregrine was collected by volunteers from Raptor Rescue and held overnight. The following day it was taken to a vets in Ashbourne where it died from its injuries. An x-ray revealed the bird’s wing bones had been smashed to pieces with lead shot. The extent of its injuries suggest this bird wouldn’t have been able to fly far from where it had been shot.
The Goyt Valley lies to the west of Buxton, within the Peak District National Park.
The Goyt Valley will be familiar to some blog readers as this was the venue for the Peak District’s 2015 Hen Harrier Day gathering, just half a mile to the south of where this peregrine was found near Errwood Reservoir. It’s interesting to note that the injured peregrine was found on the border of the Special Protection Area (SPA) boundary and also within the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) boundary. Oh, and look at the burnt strips of heather moorland to the south east of where the shot bird was found: Wild Moor is managed as a driven grouse moor. What an amazing coincidence.
So here we are again, yet another raptor illegally killed within a National Park. And this National Park, the Peak District National Park, has, since 2011, been hosting a long-running Bird of Prey Initiative where ‘partners’ are supposed to have been ‘collaborating’ to increase bird of prey numbers. Five years in to the project we learned that none of the project targets had been met (see here) but that the Initiative was going to continue and extend from the Dark Peak to the South West Peak (which is where this bird was shot).
As Mark Avery commented at the time (here), “The response of the consortium is to keep pretending that everyone is on the same side and that chatting about things will bring an end to crime. It won’t“.
He was right. Raptor persecution within the Peak District National Park has continued, including the recent discovery of a spring-trapped osprey and a shot buzzard (see here), an armed man filmed sitting next to a decoy hen harrier (see here) and a suspected shot goshawk (see here).
Ironic, isn’t it, that while we were all sitting in a conference room in Sheffield at the weekend, at the edge of the Peak District National Park, listening to various speakers bleating on about ‘consensus’, ‘partnership working’ and ‘cooperation’ being the way forward, a few miles down the road the corpse of the latest victim was being shoved in a freezer, shot to pieces.
It is pitiful that this charade of ‘conflict resolution’ is allowed to continue when it is quite clear that some of the so-called ‘partners’ have no intention whatsoever of changing their criminal behaviour. They are out of control and the authorities seem unwilling, or unable, to stop them. Meaningful action against these criminals is being delayed by keeping everyone tied to the table in endless rounds of pointless talks. Enough.
The e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting has now amassed over 121,000 signatures and will result in a Westminster evidence session followed by a parliamentary debate. The petition closes in one week – if you haven’t already signed, please do so now and let your MP know that this issue is important to you. PLEASE SIGN HERE
UPDATE 14 Sept: Derbyshire Constabulary issues appeal for information here
UPDATE 15 Sept: BBC News runs the story here