Rare bird killed by rat poison

A Red Kite found poisoned in Nidderdale (s)
A Red Kite found poisoned in Nidderdale (s)

Wildlife officers are investigating after an endangered Red Kite was killed by rat poison in Nidderdale.

In May 2012 a fieldworker was monitoring Raptors on Lofthouse Moor when he found the body of a Red Kite near a cattle grid.

The bird of prey had been dead for a few days, and it appeared to have been feeding on a baby rabbit when it died. The fieldworker reported the find to police, who suspected the bird had been poisoned.

Natural England sent the bird to the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Thirsk and Food and Environment Agency at Sutton Hutton, near York. Toxicology tests found the it had eaten rodents poisoned by commonly available rat and mouse poison, and had been poisoned by a combination of banned pesticides.

PC Gareth Jones, Wildlife Officer for North Yorkshire Police, said: “The use of rat and mouse poison is a common problem which puts the lives of Red Kites and other birds of prey in danger.

“It is the responsibility of anyone who puts down poison to control rats and mice, to collect the dead rodents and dispose of them properly.

“It is a great shame that another Red Kite has been killed in North Yorkshire particularly as they are an endangered species and have only recently returned to the county.”

Police are now appealing for anyone with information that might help their investigation to come forward. Contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and ask for Gareth Jones or Ripon police. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 and the RSPB have a confidential reporting line on 0845 466 3636.