The investigation into five goshawks who were found dead (pictured above) after they were shot in King’s Forest, near Wordwell, has now led to a £5,000 reward being doubled in a bid to help track down the culprit.
The birds were discovered on Monday, January 16, where they were left in a parking area just off the B1106 near the forest.
X-rays were carried out which showed all five birds had suffered injuries from multiple pieces of shot (pictured above).
All birds of prey are protected by law and to kill or injure one could result in jail and/or an unlimited fine.
Now the reward has gone up to £10,000 after campaigners Wild Justice matched the £5,000 initially offered by the RSPB which it said was the highest amount ever offered by a conservation charity.
Sergeant Brian Calver of Suffolk Constabulary’s Rural Crime team said: “This is a serious wildlife crime against an amazing schedule one bird of prey that was once driven to extinction in Britain. There is no place for such activity in modern times. Whoever is responsible for this needs to be brought to justice and I’d urge anybody with any information whatsoever to let us know.”
The RSPB is working with Suffolk Constabulary to help identify the culprit and the reward has been made to try and get someone to come forward with information which leads to a conviction.
Mark Thomas, the RSPB’s head of Investigations UK, said: “Anyone who values the natural world and abhors those who actively and criminally look to destroy it will feel as outraged as we do about this utterly despicable incident. We are calling on anyone who has information to come forward to the police.”
The RSPB and other specialists are assisting officers with the investigation.
Known as the “phantoms of the forest”, goshawks are similar to sparrowhawks but much larger, with females appearing as big as buzzards.
The secretive birds of prey are protected in the UK under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Nesting in forests and large woods, goshawks are most easily seen in late winter and spring, when pairs perform spectacular aerial displays over their woodland territories, according to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
The species was close to extinction in the UK in the late 19th Century, before seeing a resurgence in the 1960s.
The RSPB’s annual Birdcrime report for 2021, published in November 2022, revealed 108 confirmed incidents of birds of prey being shot, trapped or poisoned. However, the charity said, the true number was likely to be far higher.
Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to contact Suffolk police quoting crime reference 37/3027/23, via the website http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update email: firstname.lastname@example.org call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org