A HUNT has been launched for the killer of 'Bowland Betty', a rare bird of prey which conservationists had tracked across the north of Britain.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is offering a £1,000 reward for details leading to the conviction of those responsible for the hen harrier’s death in Colsterdale, south of Leyburn, in the Yorkshire Dales.
A spokesman for the charity said with hen harriers on the brink of extinction as a breeding species in England, Betty’s death was a significant blow to the species’ future.
Betty was raised in Bowland, Lancashire, last year before being fitted with a satellite tag by Natural England as part of their Hen Harrier Recovery Project, which tracked Betty’s movements from Caithness, in Scotland, to North Yorkshire in May.
She ranged around the moors in the Nidderdale and Colsterdale areas for a few weeks, but in late June the satellite data indicated Betty had become stationary, raising fears for her safety.
With the cooperation of the Swinton Estate, Stephen Murphy of the Natural England Hen Harrier Recovery Project found Betty dead in July.
Betty’s body was sent to the Zoological Society of London for a post-mortem examination, which revealed that she had a fractured left leg, leading to her death.