Red kites have been successfully reintroduced to areas of Britain. Photo: Walter Baxter CC-BY-SA-2.0

Red kites have been successfully reintroduced to areas of Britain. Photo: Walter Baxter CC-BY-SA-2.0

A red kite whose body was found at a raptor-persecution blackspot had survived being shot twice, only to be killed by pesticide abuse.

North Yorkshire Police said investigations on the dead bird of prey found in Nidderdale showed traces of two banned pesticides.

A landowner found the body of the red kite at the end of October last year and contacted police, fearing criminal activity might have taken place on his land.

A police spokesperson said: “North Yorkshire Police arranged for the bird to be x-rayed, and this showed there were two pieces of shot in the bird. However, it was not possible to say whether these had caused fatal injuries.

“Police released details of the incident, and appealed for information from the public.

“Officers have now completed their enquiries. The dead bird was subjected to a post-mortem [examination], which concluded that the injury caused by one piece of shot was old and had healed. The damage caused by the second piece was recent but was not a fatal injury.

“The bird was then submitted to the wildlife incident investigation scheme, which is administered by Natural England. It was subjected to toxicological tests which found several poisons in the bird.

“The largest quantity of poison was a substance called bendiocarb, a pesticide which is licenced for use in the UK. Smaller amounts of two other pesticides, isofenphos and carbofuran, which are both illegal in the UK, were also present. The report concluded that the kite had died as a result of the abuse of several pesticides.”

Police said no suspects had been identified. Anyone who has information that may help them is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police, quoting reference 12180199938.

The spokesperson said: “The test results suggest that someone not only has access to two illegal poisons, but is also placing them, along with a legal pesticide, into the environment so that a wild bird has been able to consume them.

“In addition to being poisoned, the bird had also been shot at least twice during its life.”

Red kites have been successfully reintroduced to Yorkshire, having been extinct as a breeding bird in England, and they are now a familiar sight to people in Nidderdale.

All birds are protected by law and it is a crime to intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird. If anybody has information about persecution of birds of prey, whether by poisoning or shooting, they are asked to contact police on 101.

The spokesperson added: “Anyone misusing pesticides may also be committing a variety of offences. If you come across an object which you believe may be contaminated with a pesticide or other poisons, please do not handle it.

“Report the situation immediately to the police giving accurate details of location and why you suspect involvement of a poison.”

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