February 4, 2017 in News
North Yorkshire has the worst record for crimes against birds of prey in the country, according to a new report by the RSPB.
Of the 242 incidents reported across England in 2015, 40 were in North Yorkshire – more than any other county, the charity’s Birdcrime 2015 report found.
Birdcrime 2015 reveals that there were six confirmed incidents against raptors in North Yorkshire including a poisoned red kite, a poisoned buzzard, a shot tawny owl, a shot buzzard and a shot kestrel.
The report also highlighted an incident in November last year when news emerged that a satellite tagged hen harrier, named Rowan, was found dead with injuries consistent with being shot in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Only three pairs of hen harriers successfully bred in England in 2016, despite there being enough suitable habitat to support over 300 pairs.
Another incident featured in the report in the Richmondshire area was the discovery of a hidden cache of pesticides in Arkengarthdale which the charity claimed was being used for the poisoning of wildlife.
The cache was hidden underground in a small forestry plantation on Hurst Moor, a driven grouse moor which forms part of the East Arkengarthdale Estate.
A suspect was identified from camera footage obtained by the RSPB and North Yorkshire Police.
A gamekeeper was arrested in connction with the discovery but charges were never brought.
Despite raptor persecution being identified as one of the UK government’s top wildlife crime priorities in 2009, the persecution of birds of prey still remains an issue of serious concern with around 590 birds of prey nationally having been confirmed poisoned, shot, trapped or destroyed in the last six years, the RSPB said.