Shot buzzard in North Yorkshire ‘more than just a statistic’

The buzzard that was found shot near Shipton in North Yorkshire on 29 March 2020 (see yesterday’s blog, here) is now in the care of wildlife rehabber extraordinaire Jean Thorpe.

Jean’s no stranger to having to rehabilitate birds of prey – she lives in the county that has a consistent record of hosting more annual raptor persecution crimes than any other county in England, mostly on land managed for grouse, pheasant and partridge shooting.

She’s been tweeting about the latest victim, the shot buzzard:

She’s also been making some videos to document the buzzard’s treatment. She told us she didn’t want this buzzard to be lost as ‘just another statistic’ but rather wanted people to see it as an individual bird.

The first video has been posted on Jean’s Facebook page. You don’t need to be a Facebook user to watch it here

Jean’s Facebook post:

What this video actually does is demonstrate the extraordinary skill, care and attention required to help just one injured bird. Imagine doing this, as a volunteer, for countless birds and other wildlife, every single day.

Presumably we’ll be hearing in due course about the three other raptor victims currently in Jean’s care.

If you are on Facebook, or on Twitter, please go and support her and show her your appreciation.

14 thoughts on “Shot buzzard in North Yorkshire ‘more than just a statistic’”

  1. Lovely to see someone with expertise, care and compassion looking to rehabilitate this lovely bird. Many thanks Jean for the work you do

  2. Jean is a real star and will do her very best for this bird as she always does. The fact remains that if the world was as it should be we wouldn’t need this. Sadly our world is full of ignorant criminal bastards probably from or associated with the shooting industry that should probably have been drowned at birth.

  3. What a lovely woman and what a stark comparison to the scum that shot that buzzard. As predicted by many, raptor persecution will most likely spike during the lockdown and here, sadly, is the evidence. Is there any way of sending Jean a donation?

  4. This is from page 214 of Patrick Barkham’s ‘Badgerlands’ –

    ‘They returned the next day with police dogs, the RSPCA and a middle-aged woman called Jean Thorpe, who runs a rescue centre for injured wildlife. If Yorkshire people call a spade a spade, said a friend, Jean calls it a fucking shovel. An imposing grey-haired woman Jean tirelessly tracked, recorded and pursued digging and baiting, even training police officers and appearing as an expert witness in court cases.’

    There are another three references to her in the book. So she’s not only extraordinarily dedicated and competent she’s bloody brave too. I was going to say compare her to someone like Charlie Jakoby of the Fieldsports Channel, except there’s really no comparison. No great surprise that it looks as if all our fears that with fewer potential witnesses persecution was going to accelerate were spot on. I’m stealing myself for the news there are even more missing raptors and beavers than usual when things get back to normal. There certainly seems to be an upsurge in cases of dodgy tree felling while there are not so many people to report it and the authorities have other priorities than stopping it.

    It’s a sobering thought that if the coronavirus did indeed result from a Chinese wildlife market then a conservation movement that had more determination and grit (like Jean Thorpe) in fighting what’s a totally unnecessary trade and had succeeded in eliminating or at least significantly reducing it then this current pandemic might have been avoided. The reasons why they wimped out? Fears of looking culturally insensitive or maybe even racist when the bogus argument that it was ‘tradition’ was brought up. So eating rare wildlife as a status symbol or on non existent ‘medicinal’ grounds was given priority over conservation and animal welfare. There’s a wee bit of a parallel with part of the baseless argument for grouse moors, that they have been around for a while. Whether they have or not, they’re crap and need to go. Hopefully when campaigning restarts more bodies will show backbone in standing up against the propaganda and smears from the DGS supporters in particular. Life’s just too short and precious to do anything else and the grouse moors should’ve gone years ago as should grounding up pangolin scales for ‘cures’.

    1. Well said Les. How low have you got to be to use a national emergency – where NHS staff and others are facing huge risks to themselves when trying to save others – to go sneaking about our countryside illegally slaughtering wildlife?

      1. Yes and they’re doing their best to vilify those still going for walks in the country by hyping risks of the virus being transferred to gates and stiles – sounds pathetic to me surely far more chance of virus transferral where more people are going out to get exercise. Gut wrenching to think what’s going on isn’t it?

    2. Well said about the wildlife trade, however it’s every aspect of using animals for food that needs to be looked at. In the light of Corona virus it seems to me that swine flu in 2010 was a lucky escape in that the percentage of cases resulting in death was much lower. If I remember correctly that started on an intensive pig farm in Mexico. We shouldn’t be complacent in this country, remember Foot and Mouth and Mad Cow Disease, while they either didn’t pass to people or didn’t pass from person to person the next animal disease might. Keeping thousands of animals in close proximity provides the perfect breeding ground for new diseases. In my opinion there should be a global discussion about whether this is justified on human health grounds, as well as animal welfare and environmental grounds.

      1. Really good point, Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ really touches on this issue and looks at its impact on the direction of human history and specific cultures. Diseases from livestock have been incredibly influential. The pet trade is very long overdue for an overhaul too – practically anything is up for sale until it goes pear shaped which it does frequently. A big debate is needed and as so many of us are off work and it being particularly relevant right now this is a good time to start.

  5. Knowing a few gamekeepers locally (most I used to know have either retired or died; no disrespectful comments please), I am sure that those remaining have been having a field day recently. The Countryside Rangers who used to monitor their activities (not an easy task), nor myself and fellow members of the Raptor Study Study Group, have access to the grouse moors at present. Police tend to be overworked just now for some reason, and I can’t imagine the keepers are not seizing the opportunity to massacre raptors and other alleged ‘pests.’ Unfortunately the current crisis follows a recent influx of harriers back onto those moors, after a number of poor years for the species. I dread to think how many will have been killed, now that keepers have been gifted a free rein for this season alone. They’re bound to have sussed that RSG members will be restricted for some time to come. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if any harrier workers that ‘trespassed’ onto their precious grouse moors will find that anonymous phone calls will have summoned the police. Very difficult times for all of us, in more ways than one.

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