Published on the 09 May 2014
Derbyshire police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the discovery of a dead female goshawk with two broken legs.
The bird of prey was discovered at Chatsworth estate by a member of the public who alerted the RSPB on April 2.
The charity’s investigations team recovered the bird and sent it for a post-mortem examination by an expert avian pathologist working for the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) in Scotland.
Post-mortem analysis revealed that both of the goshawk’s legs had been broken in the same place – injuries that are consistent with being caught in a spring trap. With the evidence suggesting an unnatural death, the RSPB passed the matter on to Derbyshire police.
Spring traps are only lawful if placed in accordance with guidance for their use; for example in tunnels to catch stoats and weasels or in situations where they cannot trap non target species.
Historically birds of prey have been deliberately targeted by the placing of spring traps on poles or stumps. This practice has been illegal since 1904 and carries a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine and or six-months imprisonment.