Volunteers’ vital help to protect local peregrine falcons

Tuesday 20th June 2017

Peregrine falcon (c) WildstockPeregrine falcon (c) Wildstock

Residents living near a nature reserve are working with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to protect peregrine falcons in the Forest of Dean.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, which manages a number of nature reserves in the Forest, has taken action to monitor these legally protected birds. Video cameras have been installed and local people are patrolling the reserves and reporting any suspicious behaviour.

Last month, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust provided police with a video showing a man who appeared to have entered private land and was throwing items at a site where peregrine falcons nest. The police are now asking for the public’s help to identify the man.

“Peregrines are the UK’s largest falcons and we are very proud to have them in the Forest of Dean. It is tragic that already this year we have lost three legally protected birds on the Offa’s Dyke path. I am very grateful to local people for volunteering their time and together I hope we can stop the persecution of these special birds,” says GWT’s Forest of Dean Nature Reserves Manager Kevin Caster. “There has been a significant increase in the number of young people trespassing here since the site has become popular on social media.”
Peregrine numbers reached a low point in the 1960s but improved legislation and protection has helped the birds to recover. In recent years, Kevin has improved the understanding of the need to protect these birds with visitors to the Forest.

The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust manages 60 nature reserves throughout Gloucestershire, including several in the Forest of Dean. 

Legal protection for peregrine falcons

It is an offence to intentionally take, injure or kill a peregrine or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season. Violation of the law can attract fines up to £5,000 per offence and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.

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