OneKind's Field Research and Investigations Officer will be jumping out of a plane from 10,000 feet at the beginning of May, to highlight the continued persecution of birds of prey in the United Kingdom.
All birds of prey are protected by law in the UK but they continue to be the target of systematic criminal activity, including poisoning, shooting, nest destruction and the illegal use of cage traps and spring traps (e.g. pole traps).
Scotland experiences a disproportionate amount of the known illegal bird of prey killing in the UK and last year our Field Research and Investigations Officer was instrumental in securing an important conviction of a gamekeeper for setting poisoned bait on a Scottish shooting estate. In 2009, there were 384 reported incidents of bird of prey persecution in the UK, including: 224 in England; 123 in Scotland; 17 in Wales and 11 in Northern Ireland*.
Our Field and Investigations Officer, Steve has seen firsthand what man is capable of doing to our amazing wildlife and is always shocked and saddened when he comes across more evidence of raptor persecution.
Steve says: "When we see the official figures of dead raptors such as golden eagles, hen harriers and buzzards found poisoned or shot, we must consider that these crimes may only be the tip of the iceberg. The nature of such crimes often takes place in very isolated areas of the country where many people may never visit.
"I have chosen to highlight the persecution of raptors as part of my sky dive as I believe that these birds symbolise more than any other, the wildness that we still have in our country and how we must continue to preserve and protect them, as well as other wildlife, for their sakes and for our future generations!"
All donations to Steve's sky dive will help to obtain essential equipment to keep Steve in the field and gathering more materials for the work of OneKind. It costs £120 per day to keep OneKind's Field Research and Investigations Officer in the field saving animal's lives.
*From RSPB Birdcrime 2009 Report
UPDATE: (August 2011) Sadly the weather conspired to prevent the jump. Typical, after several days of glorious sunshine, Steve was told that conditions were too risky for a jump. The skydive is now rescheduled for next month and we will be bringing you photos and more updates when it happens. Thanks again so much to everyone who has donated, your generosity and kindness has been incredible.