Red kites “hammered” by persistent persecution, says Chair Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority continues its recent efforts to highlight and condemn illegal raptor persecution in and around the National Park.

Last month we blogged about some of these efforts, which have included the Park’s involvement with ‘Operation Owl’, a police-led multi-agency initiative designed to target the raptor-killing criminals in North Yorkshire, the Park’s publication of a raptor persecution ‘evidence report’, a wildlife crime seminar organised for Park staff teaching them how to recognise and report suspected wildlife crimes, and an article on raptor persecution published in the Yorkshire Post and written by the Park Authority’s CEO, David Butterworth.

The latest in this commendable series of activities is an article published in the Craven Herald, written by the Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Carl Lis, entitled, ‘Red kites ‘hammered’ by persistent persecution on national park borders’.

Read the article here

Mr Lis focuses on the ‘barbaric’ persecution of red kites taking place on the eastern border of the National Park in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He is quoted:

There is no doubt that the eastern fringes, where the grouse moors start, is the real problem area. Red kites have attempted to spread east from their reintroduction sites but have got hammered“.

Here is an RSPB map detailing the illegal killing of 22 red kites in the Nidderdale AONB between 1999-2017 – read this blog for more information:

Mr Lis goes on to say, “I want to stress that the national park authority is not against grouse shooting, and we have had fantastic cooperation from a number of grouse moor managers and owners. What the authority is against is the barbaric and persistent persecution of birds of prey“.

This public condemnation of raptor persecution is very, very welcome, but Mr Lis needs to understand that by continuing to support driven grouse shooting, he is indirectly supporting the continued illegal killing of raptors. There’s no separating the two: driven grouse shooting, in its current format where bag size is king, is reliant on the illegal killing of raptors.

The article ends with some commentary from Amanda Anderson of the Moorland Association who talks about the “great success” of red kites and how “large numbers of red kite are spotted on grouse moors within the Yorkshire Dales on a regular basis including Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire as well as across the eastern fringe of the national park“.

She forgets to mention how many of those red kites haven’t made it alive off those grouse moors.

Interestingly, we are currently looking in to a claim that the Moorland Association, on behalf of its grouse moor owning members, is apparently concerned about the number of red kites on grouse moors and is seeking advice from Natural England on legal measures to ‘remove’ them. More on this in due course, along with the similar claim about how the Moorland Association has apparently asked Natural England about licences to ‘control’ Marsh harriers.

19 thoughts on “Red kites “hammered” by persistent persecution, says Chair Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority”

  1. Perhaps the gamekeepers can invite the local MPs and others out to see the illegal persecution for themselves and see why it is so necessary for the survival of grouse and the biodiversity of the land in general. Just like with Sturgeon and Cunningham in Scotland.

  2. The worst black-spot for Red Kites must be the area surrounding the Black Isle, in particular to the south.

  3. Maybe we should introduce a special police force that concentrates solely on crimes against all animals, wildlife and domestic. They will have no distractions from monitoring all illegal activity against raptors, badgers and foxes in particular, and also abuse against the hunters’ terriers and hounds.

  4. This is a disgrace…….why should a handful of selfish morons be able to continue in a blatant course of criminal behaviour in pursuit of profit. These criminal actions have a real negative impact on the community.

  5. Whilst this is very welcome and commendable and the YDNP authorities and employees making their views very clear there is a deafening silence in comparison from the authorities governing the Nidderdale AONB, where much of the raptor crime in “the Dales” is carried out. thirty years of birding in that area is a catalogue of failed harrier nests, disappeared adults, no Peregrine sites on grouse moors there have reared young for TWENTY years and a variety of other raptors and ravens suffering unexplained breeding failures, poisoning, trapping and “Malta moult”
    It is beyond time when the AONB authorities stepped fully up to the plate joined the 21st century and cast off their friends in game shooting.

    1. I’ve had a look at the membership of the joint advisory committee and the board of friends. It does not seem that there is any reason why they do not scream and shout about persecution. There does seem to be a lot of members who probably don’t look upon their membership with a view to improving the situation. Perhaps they just don’t care?

  6. Good to read the latest chapter of ‘Amanda Through the Looking Glass’. Never a dull moment!
    Let’s not forget that the Denton Moor Marsh Harrier persecution case in May 2017 also arose in the Nidderdale AONB, being within the area in which Red Kites ere being ‘hammered’.
    As regards the possibility of legal removal of Red Kites from grouse moors, I would very much doubt the practical feasibility of legitimately excluding from such areas a bird which can readily fly 200+ miles in a day!

  7. As far as obtaining licences to control raptors goes, the RSPB’s Duncan Orr Ewing has stated that that is not going to happen. Amen to that!

  8. Te time has come for the landed gentry to have their property seized by the state for public benefit. Vote Corbyn.

    1. time that the landed gentry stopped hiring these people who commit crime and do their dirty work. police need to stop giving licences to anyone. why would you want a gun ? if there ever was a reason , perhaps an animal is in agony, then there would be special unit.

  9. Two AONBS in England are notorious for raptor persecution, Nidderdale AONB and the Forest of Bowland AONB. Both have grouse moors and pheasant / partridge shooting. Perhaps it is time to consider removing the “AONB” designation from these two areas? Or make them both no shooting areas? It is ironic that the symbol for the FOB AONB continues to be the Hen Harrier when the harriers are shot with impunity, and the species hasn’t been allowed to breed here for several years.

  10. The illegal persecution of Red Kites proves the point I made recently about Gold Eagles, and that is the shooting industry persecutes raptors, not just because they might eat Red Grouse, but because these raptors might cause the unnaturally high density of grouse shooting estates create, to disperse.

    It is vital that people understand how the criminals who run grouse moors think. They want grouse moors completely free and devoid of any raptors at all. When you understand this, it becomes transparent that there is no compromise which can be made, and that on all grouse moors managed for driven grouse shooters, the owners and managers don’t want any raptors at all. Whether all grouse moor owners and managers illegally persecute raptors, I’m not sure. But one things is absolutely clear, and that is they would if they could get away with it, or it was legal. My impression from the circumstantial evidence is that the illegal persecution of raptors takes place on most grouse moors.

    What this tells us is that grouse moor owners and managers are thoroughly disingenuous. They will pretend for public consumption, that they disapprove of the illegal persecution of raptors, whilst doing it in secret, because it is on private land. It is a similar situation to illegal Fox hunting. Where hunts pretend that they are trail hunting etc, when in reality nearly all of them are illegally hunting Foxes with hounds because it is on private land, and without any witnesses, they can get away with it.

    In other words, it is quite impossible to work with grouse moor owners, shooting interests, because they are disingenuous, and pretend to want to address the illegal persecution of raptors, whilst really they want to carry on with it out of the public gaze. These grouse moor owners, managers and shooting interests only want to be involved with these conservation initiatives, to sabotage them, and to get inside information on what the RSPB etc, are doing to detect this serious wildlife crime.

  11. Whilst I would have supported grouse shooting, the recent information that raptor persecution is directly related to driven grouse shooting makes me very much opposed to it.

  12. After 20 years of very regular hill walking and bird watching in the YDNP, I would like to tell Amanda Anderson that I have only ever seen one, that’s one, Red Kite there.

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