Wildlife officers are investigating after an endangered bird of prey was found dead in Nidderdale.
In May 2012 a fieldworker was monitoring Raptors on Lofthouse Moor when he came across the body of a Red Kite near a cattle grid.
The bird had been dead for a few days and it appeared to have been feeding on a baby rabbit at the time of its death.
The fieldworker alerted officers who suspected that the bird had been poisoned.
Natural England sent the bird for a post mortem under the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme, at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Thirsk, but an obvious cause of death could not be found.
Further samples were sent to the Food and Environment Agency at Sutton Hutton, near York, where toxicology tests established that the Ride Kite had been poisoned by a combination of banned pesticides.
The toxicology tests also revealed that the bird had eaten rodents which had been poisoned using commonly available rat and mouse poison.
PC Gareth Jones, a Wildlife Officer for North Yorkshire Police, who is investigating the incident, said:
The use of rat and mouse poison is a common problem which puts the lives of Red Kites and other birds of prey in danger.
It is the responsibility of anyone who puts down poison to control rats and mice, to collect the dead rodents and dispose of them properly.
It is a great shame that another Red Kite has been killed in North Yorkshire particularly as they are an endangered species and have only recently returned to the county.
These birds should be cherished and North Yorkshire Police’s Wildlife Crime Unit takes this kind of incident extremely seriously. If anyone has any information about this incident or any other bird of prey persecution, please contact the police or Crimestoppers as soon as possible.
If you can help officers with their investigation please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – select option 2 – and ask for Gareth Jones or Ripon police.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The RSPB also have a confidential reporting line 0845 466 3636.