York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire red kite killing seventh in two months

Shot red kite Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption The red kite found shot at Blubberhouses is the seventh to have been killed in the past two months

A red kite found shot in North Yorkshire is the seventh to have been killed in the region in the past two months, police have said.

The injured bird was found by a walker in Hall Lane, Blubberhouses, on Sunday.

It had suffered a shattered wing, possibly a few days earlier, and was put down by a vet.

PC Gareth Jones, North Yorkshire Police wildlife crime co-ordinator, said: "I am saddened by the scale of persecution of these birds. It has to stop."

The birds were all found in North and West Yorkshire and police are concerned by the "unusually high" number of recent attacks on red kites, which are protected by law.

In the past two months, four red kites have died after being shot. Another was found shot but released back into the wild after being treated by vets.

Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption The red kite's wing was so badly injured it had to be destroyed

Three red kites have also died after being found "in circumstances that suggest poisoning". They are being examined by the police's Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme.

PC Jones said: "Red kites were persecuted into virtual extinction in the UK, but in recent years they have been re-introduced through breeding programmes at a number of locations nationally.

"In Yorkshire, they have spread from their release site at Harewood House, and are now breeding over a large area. Red kites are scavengers, and normally eat carrion, their favourite food being rats and rabbits.

"They are magnificent birds than can be regularly seen soaring over our area, bringing pleasure to many people."

He urged anyone with information about the most recent incident to contact North Yorkshire Police.

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