This is not what we’re used to seeing outside of the RSPB’s Bird Crime reports or the Raptor Persecution UK blog, but the Yorkshire Post (a daily broadsheet newspaper, published in Leeds and covering the whole of what used to be Yorkshire as well as parts of north Derbyshire and Lincolnshire) has just printed a list of SIXTEEN raptor persecution incidents from just January 2018 to July 2020 under the heading ‘North Yorkshire – a black hole for raptors‘.
The list actually comes at the bottom of an article looking at the poisoning of yet another Buzzard in North Yorkshire (and inside the persecution hot spot of the so-called North York Moors national park) written by Grace Newton, but it’s worth printing it separately here. The article itself pulls no punches (and kudos to Ms Newton for that) saying that, “Buzzards are one of the most common species of raptor targeted by those associated with commercial shoots, who kill the birds because they prey on grouse.”
This is not a newspaper equivocating. There is no rebuttal statement from a lobbyist denying everything and insisting shooting is actually on the side of the angels. It’s clearly saying that the shooting industry has been breaking the law on numerous occasions by targeting birds of prey. And remember ALL birds of prey have been protected by law for more than half a century.
North Yorkshire – a black hole for raptors
– January 2018: Body of buzzard poisoned with chloralose found deliberately placed on a wall at Percy Rigg in the North York Moors
– February 2018: Sparrowhawk found with fresh lead shot wound in the village of Nidd, near Knaresborough
– October 2018: Red kite found with gunshot wounds in Wath, near Harrogate
– October 2018: Tracked hen harrier named Arthur goes missing near Hutton-le-Hole in the North York Moors and is feared dead
– November 2018: Buzzard euthanised after being found with infected gunshot wound in Riccall, near Selby
– September – October 2019: Two tagged hen harriers that are part of a tracking programme go missing and are feared to have been killed. One vanished near Semerwater and the other was last located near Askrigg Common
– October 2019: Buzzard shot near Sherburn-in-Elmet
– October 2019: Hen harrier shot on moorland near Keasden
– January 2020: Hen harrier witnessed being shot at Threshfield Moor, near Grassington. One man arrested and released pending further investigations
– March 2020: Buzzard survives after being found at Shipton Grange, near York, with gunshot wounds
– March 2020: Buzzard found in Pateley Bridge having ingested four different pesticides
– March 2020: Buzzard found poisoned with chloralose at Live Moor, near Swainby
– April 2020: Buzzard found with gunshot wounds near Kirkby Malzeard
– April 2020: Five buzzards found buried in a hole near Bransdale Moor in the North York Moors. Four had been shot
– May 2020: Goshawk trapped and killed by a man whose actions were caught on camera at Howl Moor near Goathland
– July 2020: Buzzard found with gunshot wounds and injuries consistent with having been caught in a cage trap in Appleton-le-MoorsGrace Newton, Yorkshire Post, 24 July 24 2020
North Yorkshire has become a byword for wildlife crime. And that is not the fault of the RSPB, of ‘animal rights extremists’, of monitors, sabs, birders, or bloggers – it is solely because of the ongoing illegal actions of an industry that routinely puts profits above the law. Way above the law.