The AMFCR has found a dead Montagu’s Harrier (Circus pygargus) in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. The Raptor previously equipped with a GPS tracker by the Centre for Biological Studies of Chizé in France was most likely killed by poachers.
The alert was launched on 23 August when Alexandre Villers of the Center for Biological Studies of Chizé in France asked his Moroccan colleagues if they could find a Montagu’s Harrier previously equipped with a GPS tracker.
Anyone knowing a birder near Fquih Ben Salah, Morocco, likely to check on a location where Greedey (one of our fitted Montagu’s Harrier) was yesterday? Movement pattern is weird, as well as battery charge, and I suspect the bird is dead… @grauwekiek @UKmontagus @MoroccanBirds
— Alexandre Villers (@AquilaTetrax) 24 août 2018
The story of this Montagu’s Harrier had begun a few days before.
We nicknamed Greedy because it was greed that made him caugh in our trap -he took speed a young non-breeder male who would land on a pole equipped with a trap and a vole-. He was mating with a female, Oriana, also captured this year on June 19 and marked red red blue yellow. The birds were not known -it was not birds already banded- and reared 4 chicks until fledge for a laying of 4 eggs -which is rather not bad given the conditions tells Alexandre Villers in his exchange with the MAFRC.
A Journey well gone:
After releasing Greedy, Alexandre’s team could continue to follow his migration. The Raptor left Deux-Sèvres on 15 August for its wintering quarters in sub-Saharan Africa. It has travelled 410 km in 8 hours during this day ” as mentioned in Magornitho’s article .
Yesterday trip for Greedy was ~ 380 km, crossing the Pyrenees and sleeping close to Almazan, SP. The 4 other birds are still hanging close to small roosts (~ 5-10 individuals) dispersed across @ZA_PVS or in Charente. Pic.twitter.com/tNZ7998vzK
— Alexandre Villers (@AquilaTetrax) 17 Aug 2018
Arrived in Morocco the bird eventually stopped in the area of Fkih Ben Salah – region of Beni Mellal-Khénifra -. Following the call by Alexandre on Twitter, the MAFRC responded to the request of his colleagues by moving to the indicated place:
The probable track of a poacher’s shot:
Unfortunately, the Raptor was found dead, lying in an agricultural field. It seems that the bird has landed in this field, and died after convulsing in a rather violent manner. Karim did an autopsy but the body was already well auto-lysed, so no obvious evidence could be found. However, most likely he received one or more hunting leads in the organs, he then flew some distance before coming to die in this field as a result of these injuries. Note that the bird had no fractures.
I do not like to tap on hunters when there is no evidence, however it looks like the work of a poacher who opened fire on this bird that passed upon him. Turtle Dove frequently hunted in the area of Fkih Ben Salah. Otherwise a poisoning, but with regard to the quasi-not scavengers regime of the Motagu’s Harrier, i believe this is an unlikely option says Karim Rousselon.
Unfortunately, Greedy’s migration ended up in a field in Morocco, probably shot. Thanks to all the people who transferred the tweets and a special one to Karim who drove 500 miles yesterday. Hopefully The other birds will make it safely. @MoroccanBirds @GREPOM @geckolive62 Pic.twitter.com/ckij3EQPZH
— Alexandre Villers (@AquilaTetrax) 27 Aug 2018
Threatened mainly by poaching, poisoning and trafficking of species, raptors in Morocco will soon benefit from the establishment of a dedicated national strategy being developed by the Office of the High Commission for Water and Forestry (HCEFLCD) with the assistance of its national and international partners.
|In Morocco the Harrier nests – not very commonlly and very locally – in the Atlantic coast between Tangiers and Essaouira, as well as on the Mediterranean coast – mouth of the Moulouya for example -. In addition, the species during its migration – especially from March to May and from August to October – is fairly common in all regions of the country.|
Article 12 of the order of the Ministry of Agriculture No. 582-62 of 3 November 1962 on permanent regulation of hunting, article 2 of the Order of the High Commission for Water and forests, opening closing and special rules for hunting during the 2017-2018 season, as well as the Law 29-05 on the protection of species of wild flora and fauna and the control of their trade, clearly forbid any hunting of nocturnal or diurnal raptors under penalty of legal action.