Rare bird under threat of extinction is found shot dead near Whittlesey in a “sickening” attack
- Credit: Archant
A rare bird that was spotted around the UK for three months was found shot near Whittlesey in an attack that has been called “sickening” by the RSPCA.
Experts have confirmed that the red-footed falcon was the same individual that birdwatchers and nature lovers in the Midlands and East of England had delighted in seeing since it was first spotted in Stoke, Staffordshire in July this year.
RSPB Senior Investigations Officer Mark Thomas said: “The death of this beautiful and rare bird is sickening, it has spent nearly three months touring the UK and delighting thousands of people only to be shot dead in Cambridgeshire.
“I only hope that someone who knows something about the circumstances in which this bird was killed will share any information they have to help the police in their investigation.”
Cambridgeshire Police, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the RSPB are appealing for anyone with information about the shooting of the rare falcon to come forward after the body of the protected bird of prey was found last month.
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The wildlife charity is offering a £1,000 reward for information.
Cambridgeshire Police wildlife crime officer Alun Bradshaw said: “It’s awful that this rare bird has been needlessly and cowardly shot in the county.
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“We take these matters seriously and are asking for anyone with information to contact us or Crimestoppers.”
The birds are listed as “near threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list of endangered species.
A post-mortem examination carried out after the body was passed to the RSPB has confirmed that the flacon, a young sub-adult male, died because of its shot wound.
Red-footed falcons are rare visitors to the UK from the nearest breeding population in Eastern Europe, from where they migrate to Sub-Saharan Africa to spend the winter.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Cambridgeshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.