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Rare hen harrier 'Manu' goes missing near Carlisle

Anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 101 Photo: RSPB

A rare hen harrier, satellite-tagged by the RSPB, has gone missing near Carlisle.

The harrier, named Manu, is one of two chicks monitored and protected by the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership.

It was tagged as part of the RSPB’s EU-funded Hen Harrier LIFE+ project in July this year.

Manu's tag stopped working on Wednesday 18 October, but data suggests he was near Denton Fell, on the Cumbria/Northumberland border, for around three weeks. He hasn't been seen since.

Hen harriers are one of the UK’s rarest raptors with only three successful nests recorded in England in 2017.

Police and the RSPB are now appealing for information.

The RSPB Assistant Investigations Officer said:

Hen harriers are facing an uncertain future: these spectacular birds should be flourishing in places like Cumbria and Northumberland but we are down to just a handful of pairs. So it’s alarming when yet another bird unaccountably vanishes like this.”

– Tim Jones, Assistant Investigations Officer, RSPB

The Chair of the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership commented:

With so few hen harriers breeding in England the loss of even a single bird is devastating. The Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership, along with many other organisations and individuals across the UK, is putting considerable effort into helping this struggling species recover.”

– Andrew Miller, Chair, Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership

The Wildlife Co-ordinator & Planning Officer for Northumbria Police added:

We are very concerned at the disappearance of one of these iconic birds of prey. Hen harriers are fully protected by law and raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority. We urge you to come forward if you have any information about the disappearance of this bird.”

– Don Churchill, Wildlife Co-ordinator & Planning Officer, Northumbria Police

Anyone with information should call Northumbria Police on 101 or visit http://www.northumbria.police.uk/contact. All calls are anonymous.