Three red kites have been found dead on land managed for pheasant shooting in Wales.
On Sunday (19 April 2020) two corpses were found by a member of the public and photographed but then ‘disappeared’ before they could be collected. A third corpse was found by TV presenter Iolo Williams and an x-ray confirmed it had been shot.
[The shot red kite found by Iolo Williams]
The RSPB and Dyfed-Powys Police have today issued the following appeal for information:
RED KITES SHOT IN POWYS
Police and the RSPB are appealing for information regarding the shooting of one red kite, and the suspected shooting of two more in Wales.
A protected red kite was found shot dead in Tregynon, near Newtown, Powys on Sunday 19 April 2020. At least two more are suspected to have been illegally killed in the area, which is managed for pheasant shooting.
A local woman found the two dead red kites while out walking with her family on 19 April. She photographed the birds and planned to return the next day.
She posted her photographs on social media, where they came to the attention of wildlife presenter Iolo Williams. The former RSPB employee ventured out that same evening to the location the birds had been seen, but when he arrived the bodies had disappeared. However, he discovered a third bird lying dead on the ground. The body was x-rayed and found to contain three pieces of shot in its chest and each of its wings.
Police officers conducted a patrol of the area but uncovered no leads. They are now appealing to the public for information.
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.
Julian Hughes, head of species at RSPB Cymru, said: “Red kites have made a comeback in Wales after a collaborative effort by farmers, conservationists and communities. For most of us, the sight of these glorious birds – recognisable by their long wings and forked red tail – is a source of joy. They should be celebrated, not persecuted“.
Iolo Williams, broadcaster and former RSPB species officer, said: “The red kite is Wales’ national bird and many of us remember it being incredibly rare and confined to mid-Wales. Hundreds of landowners, wardens and volunteers worked incredibly hard for so many decades to ensure the kite population thrived that I am both baffled and disgusted by this horrific incident.”
PC Charlie Jones, of the Dyfed-Powys Rural Crime Team, said: “It is illegal to intentionally harm or kill a red kite, or any other bird of prey, making this an act of criminality. Wales is home to a significant population of breeding red kites and therefore we take any offences against them very seriously, and wish to hear from anyone who has information which may help with our investigation.”
If you have any information relating to this incident, call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.
If you find a wild bird of prey which you suspect has been illegally killed, email RSPB Investigations on firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the online form: https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/our-positions-and-campaigns/positions/wildbirdslaw/reportform.aspx