North Yorkshire Police are appealing for information after the discovery of a shot buzzard in Nidderdale AONB.
Press release (7 May 2020):
Appeal for information after injured buzzard found near Kirkby Malzeard
North Yorkshire Police investigating after incident in which bird appears to have been shot
A member of the public was walking on a footpath near Belford Lane, Kirkby Malzeard, on 13 April 2020 when they found an injured buzzard. After seeking expert help, the bird was caught and taken to a local vet where x-rays showed the bird suffering a broken wing and also the profile of a shotgun pellet in the wing.
[Buzzard x-ray, via North Yorkshire Police]
[RPUK map showing approximate location of Belford Lane, Kirkby Malzeard, in Nidderdale AONB]
The bird’s injury was too severe to be treated so it was sadly put to sleep. A specialist avian veterinary surgeon has subsequently reviewed the x-rays, concluding:
“The buzzard has suffered an open fracture of the left humerus (upper wing). A shotgun pellet is visible sitting in the axilla/shoulder joint. There appeared to be soft tissue changes and a potential dislocation of the shoulder. No shotgun pellet is present at the fracture site, however it is possible that either
- The shotgun pellet entered through the wing, damaging and fracturing the humerus before settling in the axilla region – it is difficult to tell without examining the bird for open wounds or changes to the feathers suggesting shot.
- The damage to the shoulder resulted in the bird injuring its wing after being unable to fly”
Buzzards, along with all wild birds, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and it is a criminal offence to kill or injure any wild bird. The government has set persecution of birds of prey as one of their wildlife crime action priorities.
If you have any information which could help this investigation please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting reference number: 12200064619 or alternatively contact the investigating officer PC820 Hickson by email: email@example.com
Nidderdale AONB, again. What a surprise, said nobody, ever.
Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware of Nidderdale AONB’s reputation as a massive wildlife crime scene. We’ve blogged about it many, many times including the poisoning and shooting of red kites, hen harriers, buzzards, marsh harriers on Nidderdale grouse moors (as reported by the AONB partnership in September 2019). As recently as January this year the police were appealing for information after a kestrel had been found shot. A bloody kestrel, FFS!
We’ve also seen how the local community is turning against the criminals in their midst which is hardly surprising when according to the Chair of the Nidderdale AONB these crimes are “starting to have a damaging effect on tourism businesses”.
[Nidderdale AONB sign, photo by Ruth Tingay]
Earlier this year, the game shooting industry issued a statement claiming a ‘zero tolerance’ stance against the illegal killing of birds of prey (see here). It appears to have had zero effect, with raptors still being targeted even though the country is in lockdown in the midst of a national health crisis. This latest victim is just one of a number that we’re aware of – several other recent cases from around the country are still to be publicised.
Well done North Yorkshire Police for the relatively quick appeal for information, especially when many police resources have been diverted to deal with Covid 19. Having a specialist veterinary surgeon review the x-rays and provide an expert opinion was a particularly good move in light of some of the most ridiculous denials we’ve seen from some within the gameshooting industry in recent weeks.
This, for example, following the recent shooting of another buzzard in North Yorkshire, where first it was implied that rehabilitation expert Jean Thorpe might consider faking a crime by using an old x-ray and then that the x-ray shouldn’t be believed anyway because apparently it could easily show a buzzard that had been killed in a road traffic accident with bullets glued on to the corpse to fake a shooting:
You couldn’t make it up, could you?
One more time: If you have any information which could help this investigation please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting reference number: 12200064619 or alternatively contact the investigating officer PC820 Hickson by email: firstname.lastname@example.org