Today (8 August 2019) the RSPB’s Investigations team has launched a new appeal, asking everyone who is concerned about the illegal killing of birds of prey in the UK to become a ‘bird of prey defender’.

For as little as £3 per month, supporters can directly help the team working hard to end raptor persecution. As you know, despite legal protection, birds of prey are being routinely killed especially in upland areas – something which has gone on for decades and shows no signs of stopping. Your donations will go straight to the Investigations team, helping keep investigators out in the field, equipped with the means to catch the people responsible.

As part of the appeal, we’ve created a sobering video, explaining the issue of raptor persecution and why it needs to stop. Investigations officer Jack Ashton-Booth stars in the film, and provides a personal insight into what it’s like working for this team.

You can watch it here:

Says Jack:

“My colleagues and I deal with this every day but it never gets any easier. I’ve been on the receiving end of birds which have been caught in brutal traps, seen numerous x-rays of birds filled with shot… I remember picking up a buzzard east of York which had been both shot and poisoned on separate occasions.

“I live and breathe raptors, so seeing them like that is simply soul destroying. These birds should be untouchable.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with tagging hen harrier chicks, and it’s always such an incredible privilege to see the youngsters up close, then to monitor them and watch where they go as they make their way in the world.

“But it’s always clouded by concern. None of the chicks that we tagged in 2018 are still with us today, and that’s really hard to take. Some died naturally, and we found them, but many disappeared suddenly over grouse moors and were never found.

“But what keeps me motivated is knowing that my colleagues are doing their absolute best, working with raptor workers and other invaluable people with the current support of RSPB members to see that raptor persecution becomes a thing of the past. We won’t stop until the killing stops.” 

Mark Thomas, Head of Investigations UK at the RSPB, adds:

“This is systematic killing aimed at some of our most magnificent and rarest species. Raptor persecution is illegal, immoral and indefensible. RSPB Investigations exists to try and end this, and ensure birds of prey can fly freely.

“People are naturally shocked by the stories and pictures they see. They’re also increasingly angry that nothing is changing. There’s a huge body of people out there asking us ‘what can we do?’. We hope that this appeal will give people a tangible means of taking action. Your donation will go directly to the RSPB Investigations team. It’ll help us get boots on the ground so that we can monitor at-risk areas and ultimately catch the people killing these incredible birds.”

£3 per month. Depending on where you are, that’s probably less than a pint of beer.

To find out more about how you can help, visit: Thank you.