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Hen harrier numbers down in Wales

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

An RSPB survey says the number of breeding pairs of Hen harriers has fallen by almost a half. In 2012 there were 57 pairs but by last year the number had fallen to 35.

Hen harriers are the most threatened birds of prey in the UK due to illegal killings and destruction of heather moorland and forestry, their natural habitat.

The latest figures back up a continued trend that we have seen for more than a decade - hen harrier numbers are on the decline throughout the UK.

The illegal killing of this bird of prey is a significant factor behind the diminishing numbers and a large barrier stopping their recovery.

Without purposeful action from all, including governments across the UK and the shooting industry, we may see hen harriers once again lost from more parts of the country

– Martin Harper, RSPB conservation officer


Birds shot dead near Pen-y-Cae, Powys

Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information after a buzzard and a raven were found dead in Pen-y-Cae by a member of the public. Another bird, a crow, was found alive but with severe damage to its wing, possibly caused by being shot.

The buzzard and raven were taken to the RSPCA Merthyr Tydfil clinic for x-rays where it was discovered that they had been shot with a pellet gun. Local residents have reported seeing an unusual white van parked in the area around 5 April.

The raven was put to sleep to prevent any further suffering because of the severity of the wounds.

It is incredibly disturbing that someone would come to the village and intentionally shoot these birds with a pellet gun. It is against the law to kill or injure wild birds (except under licence) and individuals can be fined up to £5,000 and potentially up to six months in prison for each bird killed.

I would urge anyone who has information about these incidents to please come forward and call the RSPCA Appeal line in confidence.

– Gemma Cooper, RSPCA inspector


Pollution risk to rivers after slurry spill

Environment officers are assessing whether the Rivers Monnow and Wye are affected. Credit: Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales says it is dealing with a major pollution incident affecting the River Honddu in the Brecon Beacons.

A lagoon containing 450,000 litres of slurry leaked into a tributary and Natural Resources Wales says both the tributary and the river itself have been affected. Environment officers are assessing whether there is any impact on the River Monnow and the Wye.

Protecting nature in Wales is our biggest priority and we have been carrying out pollution prevention works to minimise the impact of this incident since this morning.

Due to the possible effects downstream we have worked closely with our colleagues in the Environment Agency monitoring the situation and putting plans in place for the ongoing management of this incident.

– Caroline Drayton, Natural Resources Wales

Anyone who sees signs of pollution is asked to contact Natural Resources Wales on 03000 65 3000.

Mountain Rescue Team has 'busiest ever' start to a year

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team says it responded to 124 incidents in 2016 - making it the busiest year ever in its 54 year history.

Credit: Benjamin Wright/PA Archive/PA Images

In the first 3 months of this year, the team has already responded to 43 calls for help, which points to 2017 being another busy year.

It says while some of the 43 calls have been to support neighbouring rescue teams (Brecon, Longtown and Western Beacons), a factor for the rise is likely to be the different types of incidents to which the volunteers are called.

Mountain Rescue Teams are initially associated with hillwalkers, climbers and mountain bikers in the National Parks, but nearly half of the incidents we’ve been called to so far this year have been to assist the Police in the South Wales valley towns and villages, be it searches and rescues of vulnerable missing people as well as carrying out a number of animal rescues from the valley tops.

– Huw Jones, Deputy Team Leader
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