TV presenter finds red kite shot dead after spate of 'sickening' bird killings
Mid Wales wildlife presenter Iolo Williams discovered a red kite which had been shot dead - prompting a police boss to tell how he's been "sickened" by killings.
The RSPB’s Investigations Unit has been "overrun" with reports of birds of prey being illegally killed in recent weeks. Cases have involved birds being shot, trapped and poisoned.
Mr Williams, who grew up in Llanwddyn but now lives near Montgomery, recovered a dead red kite in Powys, which had been shot. Reports also came in of a further two shot red kites in the area, which is managed for pheasant shooting.
All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To intentionally kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.
Mark Thomas, RSPB Head of Investigations UK, said: “Since lockdown began, the RSPB has been overrun with reports of birds of prey being targeted.
“Spring is the time when birds of prey are most visible and therefore vulnerable, as they put on courtship displays, build nests and find food ready to breed. It is clear the criminal actions are targeted and malicious in nature, taking out birds before they have the opportunity to breed, often in areas where they have previously faced persecution.”
Superintendent Nick Lyall, Head of the England & Wales Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, said: “Over recent weeks, I have been sickened by the number of raptor persecution cases that have come to my attention.
“It is clear that lockdown has been seen as a green light by those involved in raptor persecution offences to continue committing crimes, presumably in the belief that there are fewer people around to catch them doing so."
If you have any information about birds of prey being killed in your area, call the police on 101 or the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline: 0300 999 0101.
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