Ten Percent of Red Kites released into Cumbria in 2010 already killed

Following the confirmed death of a third Red Kite from the 2010 releases in the Grizdaloe Forest, Police have now confirmed  they are now hunting for the killers of three red kites in Cumbria. This represents 10% of the birds reintroduced into Cumbria last year in just nine months.

The third investigation comes on the back of initial toxicology results showing that a bird found near Esthwaite Water, Hawkshead, in January had been poisoned.

Another young red kite was found dead in the Grizedale and Rusland area on April 20. It was lying under a tree it had been roosting in, and had been killed with a single shotgun wound.

Both birds were part of a project, based in Grizedale Forest, that aims to reintroduce these rare birds of prey to Cumbria. Thirty birds were released in Grizedale last August and a further 30 will be released this summer.

The first red kite from the project to be killed was shot dead in Dentdale in September last year. All three killings are being investigated by Cumbria Police and the Forestry Commission.

PC John Shaw, Cumbria Police’s wildlife and rural environmental crime officer, said: “It is disturbing and difficult to understand why anyone would want to harm these birds. “They’re just a scavenging bird and will go for what’s easy – carrion – rather than trying to take livestock or game.”

He explained that red kites, their nests and their eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Killing a bird carries a maximum six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to £5,000.

Iain Yoxall, Forestry Commission wildlife ranger responsible for the red kite reintroduction programme, said: “It is very sad news to hear that another red kite has been needlessly killed.

A spokesperson for the North West Raptor Protection Group, Mr Terry Pickford has confirmed he has now written to the Chief Constable for Cumbria asking for a full enquiry into the loss of so many birds in less than one year.


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