Northern Ireland

PSNI recognised for 'Operation Peregrine Watch'

Peregrine falcon nests have increased in Northern Ireland
Peregrine falcon nests have increased in Northern Ireland

THE PSNI has shared in an award for its work tackling peregrine falcon persecution.

'Operation Peregrine Watch' saw officers use drones to keep check on falcon nests in areas at risk and reduce the chance of illegal killings and egg collection.

It helped the number of peregrine nests in Northern Ireland increase from an average of 49 per year in 2016 to 55 this year, including a site in Co Armagh which had new chicks for their first time in 15 years.

The Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year Award is shared between the PSNI, Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Niki Rust from the WWF, which sponsored the award, said: "The peregrine falcon is a symbol of our national wildlife heritage that has been ruthlessly persecuted through years of illegal killings and the removal of eggs and chicks for collections and falconry.

"It’s through the clever use of advanced technology, such as the drones, and the tireless work of all those in PSNI that we can ensure that these birds are monitored and protected all year round."