Help PSNI combat killing of protected peregrines

The protected birds have been shot, poisoned and had their eggs or chicks stolen
The protected birds have been shot, poisoned and had their eggs or chicks stolen

Peregrine falcons are being shot, trapped, poisoned and having their offspring stolen - and the police need your help to stop the persecution of the protected species.

The PSNI has reaffirmed its commitment to combating wildlife crime by joining the UK-wide "Peregrine Watch" following the successful launch of Operation Raptor in March 2016.

Falcon found dead

Falcon found dead

An initiative to stop peregrine persecution, Peregrine Watch aims to combat the theft of eggs and chicks from nests and the killing of adults or chicks through poisoning, shooting or trapping.

Sgt Fallis, PSNI Fermanagh and Omagh District Community Planning, said: "We have locally pro-actively built excellent relations with the Raptor Study Group in Northern Ireland who monitor and visit all the peregrine nest sites in Northern Ireland each year and as such, through the appropriate licences, we, along with the raptor group, are checking local nests to ensure crimes against these birds is minimised and that we are familiar with our local protected species.

"The PSNI take all reports of wildlife crime seriously and as such if we receive a report linked to peregrine watch we will respond accordingly.

"If anyone has information on any type of crime against birds of prey please contact 101."

Dr Marc Ruddock and Cliff Dawson, two of the peregrine surveyors for Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group (NIRSG), who have been out surveying with PSNI officers, have welcomed the initiative.

They said: "The NIRSG welcomes the PSNI initiative locally especially since we lose a number of peregrines each year, particularly to illegal poisoning or shooting. We are spending time with local PSNI officers again this year surveying peregrine sites, ringing chicks and liaising with landowners in order to prevent crimes against these birds.

"As always we would urge anybody who notices any suspicious activity particularly near quarries or cliffs to the PSNI to help thwart these wildlife criminals."

Chief Inspector Martin Sims of the National Wildlife Crime Unit added: "In many parts of the UK, the peregrine is under real threat for a number of reasons.

"These include persecution, whether that be shooting, poisoning or trapping of both peregrine adults and chicks or theft of nestlings.

"This is totally unacceptable and I am really pleased to see all the efforts that Northern Ireland are making to try and prevent the persecution of peregrines happening in any circumstance."