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Peregrine shot in County Durham

Last modified: 07 December 2015

Shot peregrine

The dead bird was found on the south-east edge of Stang Forest

Image: The RSPB

Durham Constabulary and the RSPB are appealing for information about an illegally shot peregrine falcon found in County Durham.  

The dead bird was found on the south-east edge of Stang Forest, near the North Yorkshire border, on 23 August 2015 by a member of the public, who reported the discovery to Durham Constabulary and the RSPB. 

The peregrine was sent for a full post mortem examination which confirmed that the bird died as a consequence of being shot. The bird had suffered severe blood loss and it most likely died in close proximity to where it had sustained the gunshot wounds. 

This incident is the latest in a series of crimes against birds of prey in County Durham this year. In March, two shot short-eared owls were found near Selset reservoir; in June, a shot peregrine was discovered at Castle Lake, Bishop Middleham. 

PCSO Elizabeth Finn of Durham Constabulary said: “The shooting of this rare and majestic bird is against the law, and it beggars belief that in 2015 a bird of this status has been shot and killed. 
"I urge anyone with information about this tragic incident to contact the police or Crimestoppers." 

RSPB Investigations Officer, Howard Jones, commented: “This case once again provides a window into the reasons behind the peregrine falcon’s struggle to breed in much of the English uplands. Illegal persecution continues to limit the breeding success of this species in the uplands, which is in stark contrast to the bird’s successful recovery in the lowlands.”

The peregrine falcon is the world’s fastest animal, capable of speeds of up to 200mph when descending in flight. As a wild bird it has been protected by law since 1954 and anyone found guilty of an offence faces up to a maximum of 6 months in prison and an unlimited fine.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 of Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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