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Game Warden

Red kite shot and killed in Leeds soon after laying eggs

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Reports www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

 

A PROTECTED bird of prey was shot and killed in woodland near Alwoodley Lane in the Eccup area of north Leeds.

West Yorkshire Police said the Red Kite had been laying its eggs just hours before it was shot from its nest.

 

To read the full article click here.

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This is a shock/horror story. Since red kites were re-introduced into the UK, their numbers have increased enormously, in large part due to artificial feeding - at least initially. While true that they are legally protected, they are becoming a problem for conservation managers in some parts of the country because they not only scavenge, but also predate quite efficiently. Blanket legal protection is usually introduced with good intentions, but tends to be difficult to change. Unanticipated consequences for other species often follow so it is scarcely surprising that some take the law into their own hands.

 

The report quoted a spokesman who suggested that the kite had been shot multiple times with a shotgun, but that it was alive, caught up in a tree with a damaged wing. There was, therefore, a welfare issue because the victim was still alive. However, while the bird may have been hit with several pellets, it seems implausible that evidence could be adduced to suggest multiple shots. A single shotgun cartridge typically contains between 100 and 200 pellets.

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This is, alas the tip of the iceberg @@Game Warden. I have recently read a report that in all the areas where Red Kites have been re-introduced the Yorkshire/North East area is the only area where they are not flourishing-and it is completely down to illegal persecution by the Grouse shooting industry. I am hoping to post something at the weekend highlighting what an unmitigated disaster the Driven Grouse Shooting industry is, with illustrations to show my workings out! As for Red Kites being a conservation concern, I have never heard such nonsense. Red kites were very common in the Middle ages-it is after all where we get the name for the children s toy from. they are naturally part of a balanced ecosystem in the UK . they are mainly scavengers although do take very small prey and they have adapted very well to what should be their natural place in the UK They do not directly compete with any other raptor-look at the distribution maps for say Kites Buzzard and kestrel from the BTO atlases-the sad decline in Kestrels is not connected with the increase in the others. What is more to see a kite soaring, as i can over our home or if you are lucky enough to see 40-50 at a roost-is a delight. Artificial feeding-not that there is anything wrong with that-was used as an aid when they were re-introduced into an area where they formerly were and they still feed as a tourist attraction, but should we not help to restore something that should, but for our own actions, by there? gggrrrrrrr!!!

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Also @@Game Warden you may want to google (other search engines available) the film of a perfectly innocent man in camouflage gear with a shotgun and a decoy model of a Hen Harrier on a National Trust moor this February in the Peak District. i don't know about you but I often go for walks with a wide variety of decoy birds of prey about my person-i am sure the gentleman was not wanting to attract Male Hen Harriers close enough to illegally kill them, and I sure that is not what happened to the 5 males that were illegally killed last year and of course it has nothing to do with the fact that there should be about 300+ pairs of these birds in England and in fact there are less than 10-probably less than 5! double gggrrrrr!!!!

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Managed grouse moors are more biodiverse than equivalent unmanaged habitats, a view that was certainly endorsed by RSPB spokesmen in the recent past (don't know their current views). As grouse moors often have pheasant shooting estates surrounding them, I'm not sure that @@Towlersonsafari can reliably ascribe illegal persecution to the pejoratively-described "Driven Grouse Shooting industry". Grouse moors generally represent relatively large, treeless areas of open moorland, which, for all I know, may not suit kites. Further, such areas will be managed in such a way that there is little available carrion to scavenge. What small prey are kites going to live on on moorland - presumably larks, pipits, possibly merlin and hobbies and the chicks of ground nesting birds in season? I don't know the answer, but, from the information provided by @@Towlersonsafari, I doubt that hares or rabbits would feature on their menu.

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