The Illegal Killing of Mary, the Isle of Man Hen Harrier

The corpse of Manx Hen Harrier, Mary corpse © RSPBIt is nearly a year since Mary, a nestling Hen Harrier, was ringed and satellite-tagged in the Manx hills as part of a joint project between Manx BirdLife, the Manx Ringing Group and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds' European-funded Life+ Hen Harrier Project, with additional funding provided by the Isle of Man community.

It is also now more than six months since Mary died on land managed for a pheasant shoot in Drumconrath, Co. Meath, Ireland, illegally poisoned with the banned toxin Carbofuran. 

Despite a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) investigation being set in motion* and clear evidence of criminal activity, as well as offers of full co-operation from RSPB, Birdwatch Ireland and Manx BirdLife, there has been no word of progress on the case. In fact, nothing forthcoming at all despite the best endeavours of the nature conservation organisations.

* NPWS is the agency responsible in Ireland for recording and investigating incidents of wildlife crime, having established the RAPTOR (Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to Our Raptors) protocol for this very purpose.

We have been patient, but we are concerned. Hence, Manx BirdLife has written an open public letter to Mr Niall Ó Donnchú, Assistant Secretary of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), in which we call for:

  1. A full, fair and transparent investigation to be undertaken;
  2. The full findings and conclusions of that investigation to be made public;
  3. Convictions to be pursued as appropriate in accordance with the full force of the laws protecting people and wildlife in Ireland.

The full letter is shown below:

 

Open public letter to Mr Niall Ó Donnchú NWPS re the illegal poisoning of Mary page 1
Open public letter to Mr Niall Ó Donnchú NWPS re the illegal poisoning of Mary page 1, 08 June 2020. Click to enlarge.

 

Open public letter to Mr Niall Ó Donnchú NWPS re the illegal poisoning of Mary page 2
Open public letter to Mr Niall Ó Donnchú NWPS re the illegal poisoning of Mary page 2, 08 June 2020. Click to enlarge.

 

Manx Hen Harrier, Mary, as a nestling © RSPB
Manx Hen Harrier, Mary, as a nestling, July 2019 © RSPB

Sadly, birds of prey continue to be persecuted across the world, even where national and international laws protect them.

We shall keep you posted on any response or reported progress.