Apr 30, 2023

Red grouse found with horrific injuries, likely from a trap, on a grouse moor in Peak District National Park


Blog reader Tim Melling has provided the following photographs and words:

"I was out for a walk on the moors (with my wife) at about 2pm on 9 May 2023 on Langsett Moors at SE 184001 when we saw a male Red Grouse stumbling along the track in front of us. I could see that it's left foot was missing and it's right foot was just attached by a few tendons. It could not spring to take flight. Apart from the missing legs it didn't seem weak or ill. We left it where we had found it. It looked to me like the legs had been snapped off, and I assumed it had been caught in a spring trap".

The injuries, as horrific as they are, don't appear to be fresh so this red grouse has been able to survive for some time after its traumatic injuries.

I agree with Tim's assessment, that the injuries look to be consistent with the bird being caught in an uncovered spring trap*. A report published by the REVIVE coalition in 2020 provided the first quantitative estimate of the number of traps deployed on driven grouse moors in Scotland to eradicate predators, and that they often also catch non-target species (see here).

There isn't an equivalent report for grouse moors in England that I’m aware of but anybody who's spent time on the English moors will know that traps are also deployed routinely.

If that isn't bad enough, that this is happening in a so-called National Park to support recreational shooting is beyond acceptable to many of us.

*Update: it's been suggested on social media that these injuries are also consistent with a red grouse flying into a wire mesh fence at speed and getting stuck.