UK Bird News February 2012

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First ASBO for wildlife crimes

First ASBO for wildlife crimes

Serial egg collector Matthew Gonshaw, of Bow, has become the first person in England to receive an ASBO for crimes against nature. He is also believed to be the first person to be receive an ASBO restricting him from visiting Scotland.

The ASBO was imposed because of the damage Gonshaw, who was also jailed last year, has wreaked on rare birds by stealing their eggs.

For the next ten years, the maximum ASBO term, this will prevent him from travelling to Scotland during the breeding season (1 Feb to 31 August) because of his repeated previous trips to take eggs of species like golden eagles and ospreys. He is further prevented from visiting all RSPB and Wildlife Trust land for the next ten years.

The ASBO, which was delivered at Stratford Magistrates Court on Friday, also strengthens the penalties for any future wildlife crimes. Instead of the £5,000 maximum fine and six months imprisonment that can be imposed under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, Gonshaw could receive a £20,000 fine and a five-year jail term for breaking the conditions of the ASBO.
The RSPB’s Mark Thomas was in court to hear the announcement. He said: 'Matthew Gonshaw has become a serial menace to birds, targeting the eggs of some of our rarest birds, such as avocet, red kite and peregrine.

'Over decades he has plundered hundreds of birds' nests for a selfish desire to add to his egg collection. Gonshaw’s actions have limited bird populations and further denied people the pleasure of seeing more of these birds in our skies.

'We’re delighted at today’s announcement. If Gonshaw breaks the ASBO’s terms then he could return to prison for up to five years. Already being the only man in England to be denied the joy of visiting our nature reserves, he must surely realise that it’s now time to give it up and leave the birds alone.'

Gonshaw is currently serving his fourth prison sentence for egg collecting and currently holds the record in the UK for the person who has spent the most time in prison for these crimes.

RSPB's Futurescapes programme

From the crowded Thames Estuary – homes to thousands of wildfowl and wetland birds – to the spectacular downlands of Wiltshire and the wild landscape of the Peak District, today's announcement identifies iconic landscapes where government investment will reap benefits for nature.

The 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) will build on a growing approach to conservation on a landscape scale, which also has benefits as larger landscapes can buffer people and wildlife against the impacts of climate change. They complement work already being carried out by conservation groups, including the RSPB's own Futurescapes programme.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: 'Nature reserves are fantastic places for wildlife – but without action beyond their borders they will struggle to conserve our native species which face a range of threats.

'We need to expand our horizons, looking at the needs of nature across whole landscapes. This is something many conservationists have been saying for a long time, and today the Government has shown its commitment to that approach. Without such efforts to restore lost habitat, our wildlife will continue to decline.
'It's only with conservation groups, government agencies, farmers, businesses and local communities working together that we can ensure these wildlife-rich areas continue to be home to a wide range of species and habitats for people to enjoy.

'In these cash-strapped times it is reassuring to know that ministers have recognised that investing in nature returns significant benefits to the economy. As partners in several of the projects announced today we are looking forward to working with Government and others to improve these areas for wildlife and people.'

Twelve Nature Improvement Areas have been announced today. The RSPB will be involved in nine of these projects, leading on: the Dearne Valley Green Heart NIA; and the Dark Peak: Public and Private Lands Partnership.

The RSPB is involved as a partner in other projects, including: Greater Thames Marshes NIA; Humberhead Levels NIA; Meres and Mosses of the Marches NIA; Morcambe Bay Limestone & Wetlands; Nene Valley NIA; South Downs Way Ahead NIA; and Wild Purbeck.

The RSPB's Futurescapes programme is working in 34 key wildlife areas across the UK to improve the conditions for wildlife and people. These sites include: Morecambe Bay, the Inner Forth, the North Wales Moors, and Lough Neagh and Loch Erne Basins.

National Nest Box Week 14th - 21st February

National Nest Box Week 14th - 21st February

NNBW is organised each year by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Britain’s leading bird research charity, whose work primarily involves studying the populations of our common and garden birds.
NNBW takes place each year from 14-21 February, and after 10 years it is now an established part of the ornithological calendar.
The founding sponsor and co-organiser of NNBW is Jacobi Jayne & Co., Britain’s nest box specialists, who created the idea of National Nest Box Week together with the late Chris Mead of the BTO.


Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden.

Follow the links for ideas on how you can take part — and remember that any time of year is a good time to put up a nest here

Police swoop to investigate alleged peregrine persecution

Police swoop to investigate alleged peregrine persecution

A multiagency operation investigating alleged crimes against peregrine falcons has been launched across four police areas in England and Wales.

Police officers issued with search warrants, supported by staff from the RSPB, RSPCA, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales, raided the homes of four pigeon fanciers earlier today. The raids took place within the following constabulary areas: Avon and Somerset Police; South Wales Police; Northumbria Police and West Midlands Police.

A 47-year old man has been arrested by officers at one of the addresses in connection with evidence which has been seized during the operation.

Mark Thomas, an RSPB investigations officer, said: “The peregrine falcon is one of the UK’s most heavily persecuted birds of prey, and we hope that today’s operation will help further our investigations.”

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2012 |  UK Bird News February 2012

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