Falcon reunited with owner after several bird of prey set loose by trespasser
PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:18 16 March 2018
A falcon has been reunited with its owner after a trespasser broke into its rescue site and cut loose several birds.
Wayne May, who runs Artisan Rare Breeds and Animal Rescue in Dartford, was extremely worried when, on Tuesday (March 13), six of his birds had their tethers cut.
He said: “We believe we were followed back after a static display with the birds.
“They were all put on their perches to bath and feed before going into their mews but, sometime during this period, the tethers were cut and they were released still wearing all of their equipment.
“This could have had devastating effects on the birds and put their lives at risk.”
Two of the birds stayed in the area and were caught immediately, while a barn owl was found later that day, followed by a missing harris hawk the next morning.
The bird of prey was recovered by the RSPCA on Tuesday and was home by Wednesday.
Mr May was thrilled to be reunited with three-year-old Prince, who was found by a member of the public who spotted him tangled in a tree in Bell Close, Greenhithe.
She said: “It was pitch black and pouring with rain by the time I arrived and the poor bird was tangled about 60ft up in a tree which was hanging over the railway line.
“A tree surgeon had spotted the bird too and was halfway up the tree to help when I arrived.“The bird was clearly very distressed and had got tangled in the branches by its jesses.
“Amazingly he wasn’t injured and I took him to RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre to be checked over.
“For someone to release these birds, who wouldn’t be capable of surviving on their own, into the wild is completely irresponsible.
“Particularly as they were still wearing their display equipment which poses a huge hazard for them in the big wide world, as is clear from Prince’s ordeal.”
Prince is now home with Wayne, who puts on aerial displays at public events to raise awareness and funds for his birds of prey rescue centre.
Mr May added: “Thank you to all of the RSPCA staff for helping Prince and getting him home safely.
“Unfortunately, we still have one male harris hawk missing so I’d ask everyone to keep an eye out for him.”
Anyone who sees an animal in distress or wishes to report concerns for an animal’s welfare should contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing animals like Prince, please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.