Belfast Telegraph

Bird of prey found shot three times on mend, say Omagh vets

A bird of prey is recovering after being shot three times in Co Tyrone
A bird of prey is recovering after being shot three times in Co Tyrone
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A bird of prey is recovering after being shot three times in Co Tyrone.

X-rays performed by Omagh practice Corry & O'Hare Vets revealed that the buzzard had received a fractured bone following the attack in Newtownstewart.

Three round pellets were also found lodged in various parts of the female bird's body.

It is unclear whether or not the buzzard - a species afforded the highest level of wildlife protection - was shot deliberately.

As it is illegal to hunt protected birds, the incident has been reported to the PSNI.

The penalty for committing a wildlife crime in Northern Ireland -including shooting, poisoning, trapping and nest destruction of a bird of prey - is a fine of up to £5,000 and a six-month custodial sentence.

Louise O'Hare from Corry & O'Hare Vets said the injured bird was brought to them last week after being found unable to fly by a member of the public.

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"It was very sad to see such a beautiful creature being picked on," she told the Ulster Herald.

"But the good news was that its injuries were treatable and the buzzard is expected to make a full recovery.

"There is potential that whatever happened to the buzzard was an accident, but things like this simply shouldn't happen.

"However, these birds are protected for a reason and we have contacted the police about it as shooting a protected species is a wildlife crime.

"Myself and my colleague Kieran Corry are appreciative of everyone who helped hand the buzzard in for treatment.

"It is fantastic that the public were so willing to help a bird who was greatly in need," Ms O'Hare added.

The buzzard is now being cared for at the Dooletter Wildlife Rehabilitation Unit in Enniskillen where it will be looked after until it is ready for release in a safe area.

Volunteer Mary Polizzi said: "She is the most beautiful, feisty bird I've ever seen and should be with us for about three weeks.

"She was certainly very lucky because if whoever found her hadn't taken her to the vet she would have died.

"It's sad because there is a misconception that buzzards attack lambs and other animals but they don't. If they are ever found eating an animal it's because the animal has already died."

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