The bird was discovered by a member of the public and reported to the RSPB. North Yorkshire Police submitted the buzzard for a post-mortem examination which revealed that the bird had consumed a significant amount of the highly toxic chemical, alphachloralose. This is believed to have been the cause of death.
All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To intentionally kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.
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.”
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Inspector Matt Hagen of North Yorkshire Police 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.”
If you have any information relating to this incident, call North Yorkshire Police on 101 and quote the crime reference: 12200116641.
If you find a wild bird of prey which you suspect has been illegally killed, contact RSPB Investigations on 01767 680551 or fill in the online form here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-campaigns/positions/wildbirdslaw/reportform.aspx