Police have said that a Red Kite that was found by a member of the public had to be put down due to its injuries after being ‘shot’.

North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force is appealing for witnesses and information about the shooting of a Red Kite.

The incident happened near Westerdale on the North York Moors near Whitby.

Found by a member of the public, the bird was suffering from gunshot wounds before being discovered on Tuesday, June 13.

Despite being immediately taken to the vet it needed to be put to sleep due to the extent of its injuries. 

The wounds were fresh suggesting it had been shot recently.

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Police have stressed that it is against the law to intentionally kill, injure or take wild birds.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “North Yorkshire Police is requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding this incident. In particular, anyone who witnessed the shooting in the Westerdale area on either Monday 12 or Tuesday 13 June 2023.  

“Anyone with information that could assist with this investigation should email Jack.donaldson@northyorkshire.police.uk or call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask to speak to Jack Donaldson.

“If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

According to police, North Yorkshire has the highest incidents of birds of prey persecution in any English county.

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A spokesperson for the force added: “The dedicated Rural Taskforce and specially-trained wildlife officers are committed to stopping these crimes and bringing offenders to justice.

“Operation Owl is a joint initiative by North Yorkshire Police, RSPB, RSPCA and the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

“People can help by being their eyes and ears out on the moors and dales. If you spot a dead or injured bird, poisoned bait or a pole trap, please note the location, take a photo and call North Yorkshire Police on 101 to report it”.