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Goshawk found wandering in Tonypandy prompts ownership law warning

Written by on 12th August 2020

RSPCA Cymru suspects a goshawk found walking the streets of Tonypandy wearing jesses was not legally owned – due to the absence of a ring or microchip

The male goshawk – who was wearing jesses – was collected by the RSPCA on Saturday 1 August, after he was spotted venturing down the road on foot by a member of the public.

Owned goshawks – like some other birds of prey – must be registered by their keeper under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and must be either ringed or microchipped.

The only exception is for those rehabilitating a sick, injured or disabled bird of prey, where authorised persons can provide treatment under general licence for a period of 15 days – or longer for a veterinarian, who could keep a goshawk for up to six weeks without registration under general licence.

However, this male goshawk was not ringed or microchipped – suggesting the bird was illegally owned. The animal welfare charity fears this bird could have been taken from a nest in the wild at a young age. The RSPB says goshawk nests are “frequently robbed”.

The goshawk – who is approximately four months of age – has a slight injury to his wing. He has been transferred to a specialist centre for ongoing treatment and care.

RSPCA chief inspector Elaine Spence said: “This goshawk came to our attention after being found – wearing jesses – walking down a Tonypandy road.

“He has a minor wing injury, and is now at a specialist centre.

“The law surrounding goshawks is clear – but this incident has prompted us to issue a reminder to the public.

“Except in specific and time-limited cases of rehabilitation, keepers must register them, and either ring or microchip them – but that hadn’t happened to this goshawk.

“This gives us cause to believe this goshawk was illegally owned – and sadly, we know goshawk nests are frequently a target for wildlife crime.”

More information about the charity’s work with wild birds and other wildlife can be found on the RSPCA website.

RSPCA officers have remained on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. Should you wish to help support this work, you can donate online.