Joint press release from North Yorkshire Police and RSPB (24 July 2020)
APPEAL FOR INFORMATION AFTER ANALYSIS REVEALS BUZZARD POISONED
Buzzard found dead on moorland near Swainby, North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire Police and the RSPB are appealing for information after a dead buzzard was found on Live Moor close to the village of Swainby.
The bird was discovered by a member of the public on 20 March 2020 and reported to the RSPB before being removed. North Yorkshire Police submitted the buzzard for a post mortem examination which revealed an extremely high concentration of toxic chemical, Chloralose in the bird’s system. Given the buzzard was in good bodily condition and had no injuries, the analysis shows poisoning to be the cause of death.
[The poisoned buzzard. Photo by RSPB]
North Yorkshire Police Inspector, Matt Hagen, explains:
“A low percentage of chloralose was commonly used in rodenticides to kill mice but is only currently permitted for use indoors and at a small dose. As such, there is no way this buzzard could have come into contact with such a high concentration of this poison by accident and we believe someone deliberately set out to kill this bird by poisoning.
Unfortunately, this is the latest in a number of similar cases where birds of prey have been subjected to cruel and illegal persecution here in North Yorkshire. We are doing everything we can to try and find those responsible but we really need the public’s help as they are acting as our eyes and ears around the county. Anyone with information about this or any other incident of bird of prey persecution should contact the police on 101, we all have a part to play in putting an end to these unacceptable crimes.”
Howard Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer, said:
“Buzzards are a protected species yet continue to be relentlessly shot, trapped and poisoned in North Yorkshire. RSPB data shows that North Yorkshire is consistently the county with the highest number of crimes against birds of prey.
Alphachloralose is a commonly abused product in the illegal killing of birds of prey. The amount of it found in this bird was enough to kill a human child. People, pets and other wildlife are at risk from this kind of illegal behaviour, which is why we urge anyone who may have information about this incident to do the right thing and come forward.”
Anyone who has information which could assist with this investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or if you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Quote reference: 12200116641.
What this press release doesn’t say is that this illegally poisoned buzzard was found dead on a grouse moor inside the North York Moors National Park.
Nor does the press release explain the delay in publishing an appeal for information (corpse found 20 March, press release issued 24 July).
There are some individuals from the grouse shooting industry who are claiming on social media that this delayed reporting is a deliberate ploy to coincide with the run-up to the start of the grouse-shooting season on 12 August, and thus create bad publicity for the industry to ruin the ‘celebrations’. It’s a commonly-heard complaint and simply allows the persecution apologists to focus on anything other than the news that yet another bird of prey has been found illegally killed on yet another grouse moor.
Had they bothered to ask the police why there was such a long delay they might have understood that the toxicology labs were closed during lockdown and are now having to work through a significant backlog of cases, so confirmation of poisoning will take longer than usual.
It’s no surprise the grouse shooting industry wants to divert attention from this latest crime to be uncovered on a grouse moor inside this national park. It’s the third raptor persecution crime to be reported in the North York Moors National Park in recent months, following the discovery in April of five dead buzzards shoved in a hole on a grouse moor in Bransdale, four of which were later confirmed to have been shot (see here), and then last week’s news that three gamekeepers on the Queen’s grouse moor at Goathland had been suspended following a police investigation in to the trapping and alleged killing of a goshawk in May (see here).
The grouse shooting industry’s professed ‘zero tolerance for raptor persecution’ (see here) is as unconvincing now as it was when it was claimed last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that……etc.