Suffolk Police, and RSPB in the East are appealing for information after a barn owl was found shot at a nature reserve in Suffolk.
Derek Turner, from Saxmundham, found the bird on Tuesday 23rd November whilst walking his dog at nearby RSPB nature reserve, Snape Warren.
The barn owl survived the incident, and is currently in a local bird rehabilitation centre. It is hoped that the bird will be released back onto the nature reserve later this month when it has fully recovered.
Derek explains: “As I approached the owl, I could see that it was badly hurt. It was obvious that it had a damaged wing, but it was only when we got it to the vet that we were given the shocking news that it had been shot.
“I accompanied RSPB staff with the owl to the vets and have been to visit it in the rehabilitation centre now too. Thankfully, it is doing really well, and I hope to be able to join the RSPB when they release it back onto the reserve.”
It is believed that the act was a malicious attempt to cause harm to the bird, and both local police and the RSPB are keen to find out more about the incident.
RSPB Investigations Officer Guy Shorrock said: “It’s shocking that anyone would want to shoot such a beautiful and harmless bird as a barn owl. Many people get a huge amount of delight from seeing this ghostly apparition floating over the Suffolk countryside at dusk as it hunts voles and mice in the fields and hedgerows. We appeal to anyone with any information about this wicked act to contact Suffolk Police immediately”
PC Mark Bryant, Wildlife Crime Officer with Suffolk Police, added: “We are investigating this incident and are asking anyone who may have seen someone shooting on this RSPB reserve site to come forward.”
All birds of prey and owls are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. A person convicted of killing one of these birds could be fined up to £5000 and /or six months in jail.
If members of the public have information about this crime they can call the RSPB on 0845 466 3636. All information will be handled in strictest confidence.