Moorland owners and conservationists concerned at buzzard death in national park
Conservation organisations and representatives of moorland owners have condemned the illegal trapping of a buzzard at Winscar Reservoir, near Holmfirth, in the northern Peak District National Park.
Police, land managers and conservationists are appealing for information after walkers discovered the distressed bird with its leg caught in a metal spring trap on moorland. The walkers took the bird to a local veterinary practice but its injuries were so bad it had to be destroyed.
Buzzards are protected by law: it is illegal to kill buzzards or disturb their nests. Placing spring traps on poles or stumps where they can trap birds is illegal and carries a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine and or six months imprisonment. Spring traps can be used lawfully to catch stoats and weasels but must be set in tunnels to avoid trapping birds.
The Moorland Association which represents grouse-moor owners, National Trust, Natural England, the Peak District National Park Authority and RSPB, working together through the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative, have joined forces with the landowner Yorkshire Water to offer a £2000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.
Geoff Nickolds, national park authority member and chair of the Peak District Birds of Prey Initiative, said: “Local bird groups and moorland managers have been helping us monitor birds of prey across the Peak District moors, and everyone in the group has expressed their deep concern and great disappointment at this incident.
“We work closely with landowners, gamekeepers and bird groups to encourage birds of prey such as buzzard, merlin and peregrine to nest and rear chicks successfully in the national park. The death is especially upsetting as the bird had been ringed as a chick last year at a nearby site.”
Mike Pearson, Yorkshire Water’s land and programme manager, said: “Our upland water catchments are internationally important for their wildlife, their birds and plants. We have a long and effective record of working in partnership with Natural England, the RSPB, our tenants and other users to protect and enhance these stunningly beautiful places.
“To hear that one of the most visible and iconic birds in our region has been trapped is sickening. We will be working with the police, wildlife agencies and land managers to investigate further and to look at the positive actions we can all take to prevent future tragedies. Sadly this is not the first time we have seen raptor persecution but are pleased to report that birds of prey are largely doing well on our land.”
The incident is now being investigated by the police.
Anyone with information should contact DC Bryan Butterworth at Huddersfield Police Station on 01484 436565, or call West Yorkshire Police on the non-emergency crime line 101, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Picture caption: The fatally injured buzzard