Endangered northern goshawk euthanized after being shot with lead bullet on North Island

MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre
A northern goshawk that was brought into MARS had to be euthanized after it was shot with a lead bullet.

An endangered northern goshawk had to be put down after it was found with injuries caused by a gunshot on a property in Port McNeill, frustrating staff at the animal rehabilitation centre that tried to save its life.

The bird, a protected species both federally and provincially, was brought to the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Merville after it was found on a property in Port McNeill, unable to fly. Staff at MARS soon made the disturbing discovery that someone had shot the bird.

“My first emotion was anger because these are such beautiful birds,” said MARS Wildlife Rehabilitation assistant manager Keirsten Shyian. “It is illegal to harm, kill, shoot or disturb their eggs or their nests as well as the birds so it is a very protected species, so it’s so frustrating that somebody would do that.”

The bird had been shot through the humerus with a lead bullet and had a fractured shoulder.

The northern goshawk is red-listed, meaning it is an endangered species, so every effort must to be made to save it — but in the end staff were forced to euthanize it.

It was only the second time MARS had seen a northern goshawk come into MARS and they’re pretty sure the bird had been shot because it was targetting small livestock.

MARS wildlife rehabilitator Melissa Steinkey expressed her devastation at the reason for the bird’s injury.

“It’s really devastating to know that’s why he came in,” said Steinkey. “It wasn’t something like migration exhaustion or he got into a fight or other natural reasons, it was an absolutely human-caused reason why he had to come into the hospital.”

The message for people trying to protect their animals?

“It’s really important that your enclosures are wildlife proof,” said Shyian. “The wildlife is always going to be around, whether or not they can get in that is going to be up to you so that you don’t have to shoot things that might be considered a pest species.”

In Canada, if someone is convicted of shooting an endangered species such as the northern goshawk, they can face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison upon indictment. Under the Species at Risk Act, it is illegal to harm, kill, shoot or disturb the eggs, nests, or birds of endangered species such as the northern goshawk.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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