A protected bird of prey has been illegally poisoned in one of the UK’s worst raptor persecution blackspots.
In April 2019 a member of the public found a buzzard freshly dead in woodland near Tintwistle, just north of Valehouse Reservoir, in the Peak District National Park. Close by were the remains of a red-legged partridge.
A post-mortem and toxicology tests under taken by Natural England showed that the buzzard and partridge both contained the pesticide Alphachloralose.
Natural England concluded that ‘abuse of chloralose, using a bird bait, has occurred at this location and at least one buzzard has been poisoned’.
All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail. Derbyshire Police were made aware at the time of the discovery and informed of the toxicology result in August.
Alphachloralose is one of the most commonly abused pesticides for illegally targeting birds of prey.
The northern Dark Peak has been the scene of many crimes involving the poisoning, trapping and shooting of birds of prey, making it one of the UK’s worst blackspots, according to the RSPB’s recent Birdcrime report. A scientific article, Raptor persecution in the Peak District National Park, cemented the link between raptor persecution and land managed for driven grouse shooting in the Peak District National Park.