Last week the RSPB published its latest annual Birdcrime report which showed that 2020 was the ‘worst year on record’ for confirmed crimes against birds of prey in the UK (see here).
For the seventh year in a row, North Yorkshire had more confirmed raptor persecution crimes than any other county in the UK. Twenty-six of the 137 confirmed UK incidents occurred in North Yorkshire. Of these two thirds were directly related to grouse shooting and a further four incidents to other types of shooting. Victims in the county included 16 buzzards, two peregrine falcons, two red kites and one goshawk.
[Grouse moor landscape in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Photo by Ruth Tingay]
In response to the damning Birdcrime report, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has issued this pretty unequivocal statement:
YORKSHIRE DALES NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY REACTION TO LATEST RSPB BIRDCRIME REPORT
Commenting on the RSPB Birdcrime Report 2020, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chief Executive David Butterworth said:
“This report makes grim reading for all landscape authorities, landowners, managers and other partners who are working hard to call out and tackle illegal raptor persecution, and it’s embarrassing and humiliating to see North Yorkshire yet again topping the league table with the highest number of confirmed incidents.
“As we’ve said before, the continuing issue of bird of prey persecution in North Yorkshire demands maximum exposure, as do the activities of those who take part in this criminality. People need to know what is happening here and the devastating impact this is having on our protected species. This report lays that bare.
”The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority condemns raptor persecution in the strongest possible terms and, as highlighted in this report, we will continue to work closely with partners and others to stamp out this crime once and for all.
“I would appeal to anyone, local or visitor, who witnesses any suspicious activity while they’re out and about in the countryside, or anyone who is made aware of it through their networks, to contact the Police”.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan objective C5 on illegal persecution of raptors can be viewed here.
For concerns about a possible wildlife crime, you should call 101. If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action, call 999 immediately and ask for the Police. Finally, you can speak in confidence about raptor persecution directly with the RSPB on 0300 9990101