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Plans hatched to protect Derbyshire Peregrines

Thursday 9th March 2017

Peregrine, Robert BoothPeregrine, Robert Booth

The first ever Derbyshire-wide multi-agency meeting looking at the threat to our breeding peregrines has resulted in plans to coordinate protection efforts across the county, and provide a 24 hour Watch Scheme to prevent disruption to nesting birds and vulnerable chicks including the deployment of surveillance cameras across the county.

Organisations present at the meeting included Derbyshire Police, National Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Peak National Park, Peak District Raptor Groups and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

Breeding peregrines are at particular risk at this time of year from wildlife criminals including egg collectors and chick thieves and birds of prey are a year round target for criminals wishing to injure or kill them. Intelligence suggests that there has been an increase in the theft of peregrine chicks and eggs across northern England and in Derbyshire over the past 2 years. It is thought these birds are being taken for falconry purposes.

The meeting brought together key people and organisations already working hard to protect Derbyshire’s peregrines, including Derbyshire Ornithological Society, Derbyshire Police, hosts Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Peak District National Park Authority, Peak District Raptor Groups, and RSPB. There are high hopes that by working collaboratively, this influential group will be able to secure a brighter future for these birds; already this is taking shape as the knowledge sharing at this first meeting has created an integrated picture of the threat to peregrines across the county level, rather than just isolated areas. In addition a directory of key breeding sites at risk was catalogued.

Tim Birch, Head of Living Landscapes, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust; “This meeting is an important step up in our efforts to protect our peregrines. We will be working closely with many different nature conservation organisations including the police to ensure that our peregrines can breed safely and securely this spring. It is shocking that wildlife criminals will take peregrines from the wild and deprive all of us of the opportunity to see these iconic birds in the skies above Derbyshire.”

Mark Thomas from the Investigations Unit at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said, “Peregrines are still subject to a high level of illegal persecution including the theft of chicks and eggs. We welcome this initiative in Derbyshire and its efforts to protect breeding Peregrines.”

Birds of prey, such as the peregrine falcon, are fully protected by legislation which makes it an offence to steal their eggs or chicks or to deliberately kill or injure them.

Derbyshire Police stated “People who interfere with the nests of these birds or steal from them are showing a clear disregard for the law. We would encourage everyone to be vigilant during the coming nesting season and report any suspicious activity around nesting sites to Derbyshire Police immediately. We hope that with all the partner organisations working closely together to protect these birds, this will be a successful breeding season for the peregrine falcons in Derbyshire.”

Derbyshire Police takes reports of wildlife crime very seriously and would urge anyone with any information relating to this or any form of wildlife crime to contact the police immediately on 101 or 999 if the crime is in progress. Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous you can report wildlife crime via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.