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Injured marsh harrier found in Norfolk
Once on the brink of extinction, the UK’s marsh harriers have seen a rise in numbers in recent years.
Photograph reveals bird had been shot

Norfolk Police are inviting members of the public to come forward with information after a male marsh harrier was found injured near Fakenham.

The bird was identified by a dog walker on the boundary of The Hawk and Owl Trust Nature Reserve at Sculthorpe Moore. Unfortunately, the dog walker was unable to take the bird to rescue, but he did take a photograph which revealed the bird had been shot.

The member of the public contacted staff at the nature reserve. But a subsequent search failed to find the bird; only broken down vegetation and a few feathers remained.

With the male marsh harrier having not been seen since experts say his absence puts this year’s chicks at risk as both parents are required to supply them with enough food.  Police are now urging anyone with any information to contact Jason Pegden ((PC1257 - Wells SNT (C11), North Norfolk LDU) on 101.

Nigel Middleton, Sculthorpe Moor reserve manager, said “We hear of birds of prey being killed illegally so often. Illegal persecution is such a problem and it’s inexcusable.

“Having it happen on our doorstep has come as a real shock. Marsh Harriers are the reason that Sculthorpe is a reserve. This is just horrifying. If anyone knows anything please let the police know. Let’s bring this criminal to justice”.

The Hawk and Owl Trust Nature Reserve recently announced the acquisition of more than 150 acres of land on either side of its existing 45-acre reserve. It is on the western side of the land, near Sculthorpe Mill, that the bird was found.

Once on the brink of extinction, the UK’s marsh harriers have seen a rise in numbers in recent years, thanks to a ban on pesticides. The birds feed on rodents, birds, insects, reptiles, frogs and even, on occasion, fish. 

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.