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Dartford: Falcon returned to keeper after being cut free by trespasser

A bird of prey keeper and animal rescuer was thrilled to be reunited with one of his falcons that went missing after a trespasser broke into one of his rescue sites and cut loose six of his birds.

Wayne May, who runs Artisan Rare Breeds and Animal Rescue in Dartford, was worried when, on Tuesday, six of his birds had their tethers cut and were released wearing all their equipment.

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.

Prince was rescued after being cut free from his tethers
Prince was rescued after being cut free from his tethers

“This could have had devastating effects on the birds and put their lives at risk.

“Thankfully, two stayed in the area and were caught immediately while a barn owl was found later that day and a missing harris hawk was found the following morning. Prince was recovered by the RSPCA on Tuesday and was home by Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, we still have one male harris hawk missing so I’d ask everyone to keep an eye out for him.”

Three-year-old Prince - who has a 4ft wingspan - was found on Tuesday night by an eagle-eyed member of the public who spotted him tangled in a tree in Bell Close, Greenhithe. He called the RSPCA and inspector Rosie Russon attended the scene.

“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,” she said.

Prince was found last night
Prince was found last night

“A tree surgeon had spotted the bird too and was halfway up the tree to help the stricken bird when I arrived to help.

“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.

“We logged him on a lost and found database and checked his ring so were soon able to find Wayne and reunite the pair.

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