Friday, 20 February 2015

Buzzard Persecution , Sledmere, East Yorkshire.

Bird of prey persecution has a high profile here in North Yorkshire at the moment. The prosecution of a local pheasant farmer for setting pole traps to kill birds of prey was a timely reminder that bird killing is rife in these parts. I have cared for far too many illegally injured birds of prey. Sledmere has turned up trumps yet again. This adult female was brought here at the end of January 2015, she had grave injuries caused by an illegally set spring/pole trap.She was found in the grounds of Sledmere House. One foot was missing and the blooded stump , was an offence to see. The other foot was swollen and sore. Her tail feathers tatty and broken. Fen traps are placed often on fence posts or tree stumps, anywhere a bird of prey may perch. The bird lands and the heavy metal trap shuts causing fractures and gripping the leg. The bird flaps and panics to get away causing the leg to snap. She was put to sleep. This second bird also from the dales of Sledmere arrived here on Wednesday. It had been dead and partially eaten. I had the bird x rayed and it showed no shot or fractures to the skeleton of the bird. The feathers were in good working order . So what fate became of this previously well bird ? In the recent past a buzzard was found on the Sledmere estate and sent for toxicology testing. The bird had been illegally poisoned and the Head Game Keeper was raided by Humberside Police and NWCU. More than one illegal poison was found in his house on the Sledmere Estate. He received a conditional discharge ? How bizarre. A badger sett was found illegally dug and I went out to give my expert opinion on the current use of the sett. A badger cub was laid dead next to a man made dug hole on this active badger sett in one of the dales at Sledmere. Am I angry , you bet I am, holding a bird of prey in the hand knowing that its severe injuries are the result of a deliberate man made action should make us all mad. Are we to tolerate this illegally killing of protected species . Time to stop.

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