Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 15:18 UK

Falcon chicks join DNA database

Peregrine chick being swabbed
The chicks will be part of a wildlife DNA database to deter crime

Wildlife experts in Nottingham have been taking DNA samples from peregrine falcon chicks in an effort to protect the species from thieves.

Local wildlife trust members have been ringing and swabbing three chicks at a secret nesting site in the city centre.

The police will hold the profiles to cross-check against any birds found dead or in captivity which could help to bring about prosecutions.

The trust said two peregrine nests in the county had been recently raided.

Gaynor Jones Jenkins, from the trust, said the chicks, in particular, were at risk from thieves.

"We have seen wildlife crime with birds of prey become a problem in Nottinghamshire, as it is across the UK - just this week two nests have been raided and the chicks taken.

"So we are working with Nottingham Trent University on a DNA database and with the National Wildlife Crime Unit to try and track the birds.

"If they are found, dead or alive, or birds are found being used for falconry, we can check the DNA to find out if they were born in captivity or in the wild."

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DNA samples of the chicks being taken by wildlife trust members



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