Red kite shot and killed in Leeds

West Yorkshire Police press release (15 April 2020)

[Red kite: photographer unknown]


Police are appealing for information after a protected bird of prey was shot and killed in Leeds.

The red kite was found by a walker on the evening of Friday, April 10, in the Carlton Moor area, close to Leeds Bradford Airport and the High Trees Garden Centre, in Otley Old Road.

He retrieved the dead bird and contacted Yorkshire Red Kites who, with support from the Harewood Estate, arranged for x-rays which showed the presence of at least 12 shotgun pellets.

Officers from Leeds District Wildlife and Rural Crime Team are investigating the incident and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area around the time.

They are also calling on the public to assist their work to combat offences against birds of prey by supporting the national Operation Owl initiative which helps people to recognise and report any suspicious activity and play their part in bringing those responsible for such crimes to justice.

Sergeant Dave Lund, West Yorkshire Police Force Wildlife Officer, said: “People will be understandably appalled that someone has shot and killed one of these majestic birds that are such welcome sight in our skies.

We are investigating this incident and would like to hear from anyone who saw anything unusual in the area or who has any information that could assist in identifying the person responsible.

We need the public to be our eyes and ears in support of our work to tackle wildlife crimes such as this and we would encourage anyone who does pick up on anything in their area to report it so we can take appropriate action alongside our partner agencies.”

Since their reintroduction into Yorkshire, starting in 1999, many kites have been shooting victims. At least 13 are known to have died of their injuries whilst several others either recovered or had been victims of illegal poisoning but had been found to be carrying lead shot from non-fatal shooting incidents.

Doug Simpson, Yorkshire Red Kites Co-ordinator, said “It appears inevitable that we will continue to have a small number of people who persist in flouting the law which protects our wildlife. It once again raises the question of the suitability of some people to be licensed to own guns. This is not the first time that kites have been targeted at their nests – a particularly sickening and cowardly thing to do.

Counting this latest victim, no fewer than 47 Red Kites have been confirmed as victims of illegal persecution since releases began in Yorkshire in 1999. That roughly half of them have been found by people out walking in the countryside shows the importance of everyone keeping their eyes open for anything untoward and reporting it.”

Anyone with information which could relate to this incident is asked to call West Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting crime reference 13200186201 or online via

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101.


14 thoughts on “Red kite shot and killed in Leeds”

  1. A rapid public report/appeal from the police. That has happening more frequently now. It is very welcome. Keep it up guys.

  2. Sickening, what the hell is it with these people, Kites are almost entirely scavengers, yes they take a few other things but its not a significant part of their diet. There seems to be a set of folk who think they know better than our laws and decide what should live and die, well lets hope this hopeless criminal is caught. Time the courts and the police got tough with these criminal imbeciles, its a gun crime therefore they should be deprived of the right to own a shotgun ( or other firearm) for life, no ifs buts or maybes. Oh and automatic jail time.

    1. Raptors scare the species that are shot, and they won’t take to the wing. It’s not so much that they take ‘sporting’ species but that the sporting species display their natural instincts and hide from raptors, denying the shooters the chance to shoot them

  3. Yorkshire again. Is there something in the water in that county? Sickening.

    Have you seen some of the latest guff on the Moorland Association FB page? They are cutting #NHS into the Heather now to “show their support.” More masquerade in my opinion and using the pandemic to raise the moorland profile. Anyway they didn’t like it when it was pointed out the acronym spelled #No Harrier Safe – or red kite for that matter.

  4. An outer set up by the antis again these birds are always found next to a walk way even in a big estate it’s impossible for all these birds to be found next to a walk way I’m sick of the antis doing this then try and blame the keepers

    1. So how do the antis arrange this? do they shoot the bird or are you recycling that old and long lost argument it is the same birds every time? This is apparently a reasonably well known nest site so perhaps somebody checked and found the bird. Many of us me included have spent a near lifetime involved with raptors, raptor persecution and raptor persecutors and one of the most sickening things to hear from brain dead tossers like you is that it is a set up. I’ve never heard of a so called set up we have no need for them, idiots who persecute provide us with enough and besides which we know and value our integrity, we are not of that sort of mindset at all. Once a reputation is gone it is gone forever, we cannot afford that. The only reason we are “anti ” in the first place is a litany of incidents like this often involving those from shooting. Get a life, get real, wake up and smell the coffee the only real threat to shooting in all its forms are those within it that continue to do things like this. Your best option is to get rid of them by shopping them instead of pretending it isn’t really happening.

    2. Hi Robert. Are you a game keeper? I just wonder if you may ever have thought about actually “removing” a raptor from a game bird area? A few years ago I asked that same question to a game keeper on the Whernside Estate in the Yorkshire Dales. Whenever I shared a raptor persecution post on my Facebook page he would always reply with the same old “Keep yer nose out of other people’s business” type comments. Then one day I asked him if he would accept that a Hen harrier could live peacefully on the land he worked, or whether he would shoot one if it settled on “his” moor – “Of course I wouldn’t take one out” was his reply. Then, a few years down the line, he was prosecuted for destroying two Short-eared owls on the estate - . My feeling is that those two owls were the tip of a very big iceberg. So you may be able to see why us “antis” are rather sceptical when it pertains to the whole of the game shooting industry. It would help if you could place commas and full stops in the right place, then I could at least understand your sentences. Thank you, Andy.

      1. Ohhh, picking on somebody’s use of Grammar in a comments section. Always the base for a strong argument. You live in La La land pal. You have taken 1 story which is your own, possibly completely fabricated story and labelled every member of the shooting community like that. Look at the bigger picture my friend. The Antis are constantly breaking the law, you can see it day in day out if you look past the BS main stream media. The limits they will go too to prove a non existent point holds no bounds and killing spectacular wildlife to use as a weapon to back your stance is not defiantly the cause of this but is the most likely scenario if you live in the real world. What your suggesting is a game keeper shot this bird and then placed it next to a footpath for walkers to find? In what realistic version of events would that happen? And why would it happen? Wake TFU.

        1. The reason we label the all shooting community as potentially criminal is that by and large when we get culprits in court and they are found guilty the overwhelming majority are involved with game shooting and the rest of you neither condemn or shop wildlife criminals. This bird was shot of a nest, it may not have fallen immediately hence being found, we don’t know who shot it any more than you do and in this case considering where it is it is more likely a mindless criminal twat than a game keeper. When have anti bird of prey persecutors broken the law, don’t include us with animal rights activists that annoys me nearly as much as being called a liar. As far as I am aware none of us on this side of the fence kill spectacular wildlife that is a myth of your sides making and completely deluded, a product of cloud cuckoo land.

    3. It’s good of Mr Quirk to point out that the vast majority of the birds killed by these criminal vermin die well away from “walk ways”, and are never found.

  5. Surely someone picked up an ‘RTA’ roadkill, and glued some pellets to it! Again. Just to ruin the rep of the GKs…again. They must feel so persecuted.

  6. To be honest, Mr Quirk, this just goes to show that the vast majority of killed birds are, as is hoped by the persecutors, hidden from view in these large areas, and only a a small percentage, probably, are ever brought to light to show the true extent of the wildlife vandalism that actually occurs. Even if you have no history of killing B of P yourself, dont be naive; if you want to be tarred with the same brush, speak out against it. There is nothing ‘right’ about killing these birds…or any other of the wildlife labelled ‘vermin’ by the shooting estates.

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