BBC News and The Daily Mail report the RSPB says it has been overrun with reports of birds of prey being illegally killed since the start of the lockdown 6 weeks ago. According to the charity the vast majority of incidents have been reported close to large estates used for game bird shooting.
The head of the RSPB investigations unit said it was like the ‘wild west’ out in the countryside with those wanting to kill birds of prey emboldened by the lack of walkers and hikers. At this time of year the charity would normally be getting 3 or 4 reports of killings a week, they are now getting 3 or 4 a day. Deaths include red kites, falcons and buzzards. RSPB described the killings as ‘orchestrated’.
Photo of dead buzzards by soundslogical under creative commons.
The Mirror reports wild animals are enjoying deserted streets, beaches and the countryside as air and car traffic has fallen dramatically – but Moorland Monitors, a group which documents wildlife crimes, fears incidents are going unreported with monitoring difficult to carry out under Covid-19 restrictions.
iNews reports that a former special forces soldier dubbed the ‘Pablo Escobar of egg theft’ hit the headlines recently after being sentenced to three years in jail for stealing £100,000 of rare bird of prey eggs.
Jeffrey Lendrum was convicted for the third time in a long and global career of egg smuggling after being stopped on his way into Heathrow from South Africa with 17 hawk, eagle and vulture eggs strapped to his chest – as well as two newly-hatched chicks.
Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/why-the-uk-is-a-target-for-bird-of-prey-egg-thieves/
Photo Credit: Woking Peregrine Project / Woking Borough Council