The buzzard's body was found by a member of the public. Photo: RSPB

The buzzard's body was found by a member of the public. Photo: RSPB

Police in North Yorkshire are appealing for information after tests confirmed a buzzard whose body was found by a passer-by died from poisoning.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said the raptor’s body had enough toxic chemical in it to kill a child.

The bird was discovered on Live Moor, in the North York Moors national park on 20 March this year. Police sent the buzzard’s body for analysis, which revealed it contained an extremely high concentration of chloralose. North Yorkshire Police said: “Given the buzzard was in good bodily condition and had no injuries, the analysis shows poisoning to be the cause of death.

The bird was found close to the route of the Cleveland Way and the Coast to Coast Walk, which both pass over Live Moor, near the village of Swainby.

Inspector Matt Hagen said: “A low percentage of chloralose was commonly used in rodenticides to kill mice but is only currently permitted for use indoors and at a small dose. As such, there is no way this buzzard could have come into contact with such a high concentration of this poison by accident and we believe someone deliberately set out to kill this bird by poisoning.

“Unfortunately, this is the latest in a number of similar cases where birds of prey have been subjected to cruel and illegal persecution here in North Yorkshire.

“We are doing everything we can to try and find those responsible but we really need the public’s help as they are acting as our eyes and ears around the county. Anyone with information about this or any other incident of bird of prey persecution should contact the police on 101. We all have a part to play in putting an end to these unacceptable crimes.”

Howard Jones, RSPB investigations officer, said: “Buzzards are a protected species yet continue to be relentlessly shot, trapped and poisoned in North Yorkshire. RSPB data shows that North Yorkshire is consistently the county with the highest number of crimes against birds of prey.

“Alphachloralose is a commonly abused product in the illegal killing of birds of prey. The amount of it found in this bird was enough to kill a human child.

“People, pets and other wildlife are at risk from this kind of illegal behaviour, which is why we urge anyone who may have information about this incident to do the right thing and come forward.”

Anyone who has information that could help the investigation is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting reference: 12200116641. Alternatively, anonymous information can be given via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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