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North Yorkshire Police issue warnings after red kite poisoned

Last modified: 13 July 2020 at 11:37am

North Yorkshire Police have repeated warnings about illegal use of pesticides after analysis of a red kite found dead in March concluded it had died as a result of poisoning.

The red kite was found dead by a member of the public near Pateley Bridge on 1 March close to a caravan site. After examination to rule out obvious causes of death, North Yorkshire Police submitted the bird to the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) for analysis.

Laboratory analysis by WIIS identified the presence of two pesticides and concluded that this was most likely the cause of the bird’s death, particularly given it was fit and healthy and had died soon after eating a large meal. Two pesticides (Bendiocarb and Isofenphos) were present in the bird’s gizzard (a part of the stomach), along with the remains of what it had eaten.

Bendiocarb is licensed for use as a pesticide in England, but Isofenphos is banned in the UK. Both pesticides are highly toxic and their use has previously been identified as the likely cause of death of other red kites in North Yorkshire.

Despite extensive investigations, police have not been able to find evidence to understand how the pesticides reached the red kite or to identify those responsible for misusing these toxic substances. Although the investigation has now concluded, anyone with information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police quoting reference 12190038006.

In the course of normal use, pesticides like Bendiocarb should never be released into the environment where wildlife, such as birds of prey, can be exposed to them.

Police are aware that poisons and pesticides like Bendiocarb or Isofenphos can be laid on bait, for example a carcass of a rabbit or bird so we would urge dog walkers to be vigilant and do not let your pets eat or investigate any animal carcasses they might come across when out walking. If you find any evidence of bait like this or a poisoned animal, then do not touch it. Many chemicals are extremely toxic and can be absorbed through skin.

Take multiple photos of the scene and note down as many details as you can, as well as why you think the carcass is poisoned. If possible, note down a grid reference or what3words location if you have the app on your phone and report it to the police by calling 101 so that we can investigate.

Red kites have been successfully re-introduced to Yorkshire, having been extinct as a breeding bird in England, and they are now a familiar sight to people in Nidderdale. All birds are protected by law and it is a crime to intentionally kill, injure, or take any wild bird. If anybody has information about persecution of birds of prey please call North Yorkshire Police on 101.


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