Concerns are being raised at what appears to be the deliberate targeting and persecution of Red Kites after another bird was shot in what police have described as a “shocking act of cruelty.” The Red Kite was blasted from the sky with a shotgun and left to die where it fell, on farmland near Nidd, in the Harrogate area.
It comes weeks after a similar bird was killed not far from Rowland Gill, near Gateshead, and after another was shot and injured at low Marishes near Malton. Others were found poisoned last year.
The Red Kite was found by a member of the public who was taking a walk in the country last Saturday, April 23 and was taken to a specialist vet – but its wing was so severely damaged it had to be put down.
The vet believed the bird had been shot while in flight, but had survived, unable to fly, for up to two days, before it was found.
North Yorkshire Police’s wildlife co-ordinator PC Gareth Jones said: “Red Kites are majestic birds that mainly feed on carrion and pose no threat to game birds, farmed animals or pets.”
He added: “It has taken many years to re-introduce Red Kites after their extinction from the UK by persecution.
“People in Harrogate have become used to seeing Red Kites soaring above the town, and will be shocked by this meaningless and cruel act.”
In another incident, Red Kite was found dead and two more left riddled with shotgun pellets in Oakley Wood, near Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire.
It is not clear how the dead kite was killed, but the two injured birds had been shot with a shotgun.
PC Robert Searle, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Fortunately incidents of this nature are very rare in the Thames Valley and a thorough investigation is under way.”
Police are on the hunt for culprits after two birds of prey were found injured in Oakley Wood, near Crowmarsh Gifford.
On Tuesday, March 29 an injured Red Kite was found in the area, followed by another on Tuesday, April 5. X-Rays showed that both had been hit by shotgun pellets.
The Chilterns Conservation Board said the reintroduction of Red Kites on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border in 1989 was one of the UK’s most successful conservation projects.
There are about 1,000 Red Kites in England
The birds are now recovering at Tiggywinkles in Aylesbury but police enquiries have also revealed that a dead Red Kite had been found in Oakley Wood on Tuesday, March 22. The cause of death is uncertain.
“The two birds were lucky to survive and I would like to thank Tiggywinkles for caring for the birds so well.”
Protectors of the North East’s Red Kites have spoken of their disgust after one of the rare birds was shot dead near Gateshead.
The protected bird of prey was discovered dead with gunshot wounds in Chopwel lWood, near Rowlands Gill, over the Easter weekend. The dog walker who found the bird took it to a veterinary surgeon, who confirmed it had two pellet wounds from an air rifle or shotgun.
The incident is being investigated by Northumbria Police.
The Friends of the Red Kite (FoRK) group have described the shooting as a new blow to establishing a viable population of the rare birds across the North East.
It came just after an adult female Red Kite was found shot and injured near Malton, North Yorkshire.
FoRK’s welfare officer Allan Withrington said he was “disgusted and disappointed” at the shooting.
“That anyone could even think about shooting these beautiful, graceful birds is beyond my comprehension,” he said.
“We are saddened by yet another wildlife crime and look forward to hearing the results of the police investigation.”
A total of 94 young Red Kites were reintroduced from 2004 into the Derwent Valley in Gateshead but conservationists have expressed concern that the birds have not expanded beyond their core area in the last 11 years.
Two Red Kites were poisoned in the nearby area of High Spen in 2014 after ingesting the pesticide Methiocarb.
A third, discovered at Edmundbyers in County Durham in the same year, had died from poisoning by Carbofuran, one of the most toxic of pesticides which is banned in the EU.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “On March 28 we received a report expressing concern for a Red Kite bird that had been found dead in Chopwell Wood in Gateshead.
“The caller had taken the bird to a vet where it was confirmed that it had been shot.
Red Kites are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone found killing one can face jail.
The Red Kite is afforded the highest degree of legal protection under the Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
It is an offence to take, injure or kill a Red Kite or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.
It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb the birds close to their nest during the breeding season. Violation of the law can attract fines up to £5,000 per offence and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.
If you see anything suspicious please report it to the Police immediately.
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