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Seriously injured buzzard discovered on Yorkshire estate

Last modified: 26 February 2015

Buzzard in field

RSPB are offering a £1000 reward for anyone with information

Image: David J Morris

Humberside Police and the RSPB are appealing for information following the discovery of a buzzard that had sustained injuries consistent with illegal trapping. The RSPB are offering a £1000 reward to anyone who has information that could lead to a conviction relating to the incident.

The buzzard was found alive on 21 January on the Sledmere Estate, near Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, missing one of its feet and with broken tail feathers, immediately raising concerns of illegal trapping. The bird was taken to a local raptor rehabilitator who had no option but to euthanize it. A post mortem examination confirmed that the traumatic injuries to the bird’s leg could have been caused by a trap. 

Spring traps are lawful in certain circumstances; for example in tunnels to catch stoats and weasels. However, spring traps are sometimes placed in exposed positions such as poles or stumps to target deliberately birds of prey. This practice has been illegal since 1904 and carries a maximum penalty of a £5,000 fine and or six months imprisonment. 

Bob Elliot, Head of RSPB Investigations stated: “Setting spring traps in the open is a criminal practice, which harms birds of prey in the most horrible way. These devices are the raptor equivalent of a land mine – deadly and indiscriminate. I would urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the police immediately.”  

Jean Thorpe, Raptor rehabilitator from Raptor Rescue who had to euthanize the bird, said: “The poor buzzard was in a terrible state when he came to me. One of his feet was missing and its other leg was in very bad condition. He was obviously in a great deal of pain and had been for some time. It is very sad to think that some people think it is acceptable to treat our wildlife in this way.”   

Sergeant Dave Jenkins, Humberside Police Wildlife crime force co-ordinator added: “It is extremely distressing that there are people who are potentially willing to inflict horrendous injuries or poison our birds of prey in the Humberside area. 
“I am confident that the local community will engage and assist with our enquiries into this particular report and we will respond to any information received from the public as part of this appeal.”

Anyone with information can contact Humberside Police on 101 and ask for Sgt Dave Jenkins or contact the RSPB confidentially on 0845 466 3636.

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Persecution is still causing the deaths of hundreds of birds of prey every year. A donation to our appeal will help us put these awe-inspiring birds back in the skies where they belong.

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