Raptor rehab expert gets funding support from both Yorkshire National Parks

A bit of a good news story for a change! Yorkshire’s two National Park Authorities have found a creative way of providing funding support to Jean Thorpe, an expert wildlife rehabilitator who works tirelessly (and voluntarily) to care for the victims of illegal raptor persecution across the region.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the North York Moors National Park Authority have come up with a plan to make Jean an ‘official volunteer’, which means that they can now cover her travel expenses when she’s called out to help rescue birds of prey and owls within the Parks’ boundaries.

Given the region’s consistent reputation as the worst county in England for illegal raptor persecution, these funds will help Jean’s work considerably.

Of course, there shouldn’t be any raptor persecution within these two National Parks and some may argue that the funds should be directed towards targeting the criminals and enforcing the law. It’s a fair point, but also an idealistic one. In recent months we have seen some significant movement from the National Park Authorities (particularly the Yorkshire Dales NPA) who have stopped pretending raptor persecution doesn’t happen and instead have begun to focus on how to address it (e.g. see here and here), but there’s a long way to go.

Until raptor persecution has been eradicated from these two National Parks, finding a way to provide financial support for Jean’s work is a welcome move and we applaud the two Park Authorities for their creative thinking.

Press release from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority:

Birds of prey specialist Jean Thorpe has become an official volunteer for the two National Park Authorities in North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, meaning that they can cover her travel expenses while she helps rescue and rehabilitate injured birds.

The Malton-based ‘Raptor Rescue Rehabilitator’ provides specialist care for injured raptors and owls.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund has also awarded Mrs Thorpe £150 for a first response kit.  This ‘first aid kit for birds’ will help her provide initial on scene care.

The birds that come to Mrs Thorpe’s attention are from a variety of sources, including road traffic collisions, overhead wire collisions, as well as birds displaying signs of being illegally shot, trapped or poisoned.

A successful example of her work can viewed here.

Jean Thorpe, who was appointed an MBE in 2014, said: “It is excellent to get support from the two National Parks in North Yorkshire.  I am very grateful. They offer some of the best habitats in the English uplands for raptors but unfortunately I do see some horrendous injuries from illegally trapped or shot birds.  Some, but by no means all, make a recovery and get released back into their natural environment ‘’

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Area Manager Matt Neale, who works with partner organisations through Operation Owl to tackle illegal bird of prey persecution in the National Park, said:  “Jean has a great deal of knowledge built up over many years when it comes to the rehab of injured birds. This is very specialized work.   I would also like to pay tribute to a number of other individual businesses who support Jean with her work.  This has not gone unnoticed.  Jean x-rays every raptor to help diagnose injuries and to identify the possible cause.

Her biggest expense is mileage, as Yorkshire is a big place, so by signing Jean up as a volunteer we can help.  North York Moors National Park Authority have joined us and done the same.  We are all so grateful for her unstinting support for wildlife in both National Parks.”

Debbie Trafford, Head of Recreation and Ranger Services at the North York Moors National Park Authority, added: “Either through illegal persecution or accidents, injured birds of prey sometimes with appalling injuries are discovered requiring help, and that is where Jean excels.  National Parks are important areas for raptors and we are committed to improving the situation.”


13 thoughts on “Raptor rehab expert gets funding support from both Yorkshire National Parks”

  1. Great lady. Also thanks to the vets who help her. Good that the NP’s are giving her some support also.

    1. Perhaps Jimmy, although quite a few of her raptor victims are quite obviously the victims of the pheasant industry. Jean is a fantastic down to earth Yorkshire woman of great skill and empathy who deserves support as of course do the excellent vets who deal with the cases for her. Long may it continue and whilst we might all wish persecution gone especially in protected landscapes that will not happen soon (because those who do it have too much power) so we need people like Jean and support to her from those protected landscapes not only helps her and the wildlife she helps but sends a clear message to the criminals that one day soon their number will be up because we are all in this together..

      1. Well said Paul and well done Jean. It is also good to see the National Parks supporting people and volunteers by coming down on the right side of the argument.

        It will also be good to be able to see a few more raptors flying around in the Dales.

        On a recent trip to Leyburn I saw Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Red Kite. How long before we get Hen Harriers?

  2. Lovely good news for a change . I do post every bit of info in our FB Osprey group but this one has a special place and I have urged people to send her some money , we have over 1600 members so lets hope some do , a totally worthwhile cause .

  3. This is fantastic news and does send out a bit of a message as well. I’ve mentioned it before, but worth repeating that I in no way was surprised when I saw the name Jean Thorpe appear in Patrick Barkham’s book ‘Badgerlands’ in connection with fighting badger baiting. She’s one of these people who, not deliberately of course, makes you feel rather inadequate!!! So glad she’s got an MBE the very, very least she deserves.

  4. People like Jean deserve to be left money in wills. Mine is done. Thanks Jean. You’re an inspiration.

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