On the 2 October 2018 we appealed for information regarding the discovery of a dead Common Buzzard. X-rays showed the bird had three shotgun pellets in its body. These were old injuries but the bird also had more recent injuries to its head, possibly having been confined in a cage trap.
A detailed examination of the body and its food content has now revealed that the Buzzard had ingested food containing the highly toxic pesticide Aldicarb.
Aldicarb has been banned for use and possession for over 10 years. It is one of several highly toxic pesticides that are abused by adding them to a bait like a dead rabbit to kill scavengers such as crows and foxes. Carrion (dead animals) eating birds such as Red Kites and Buzzards often become victims.
Several birds of prey including Red Kites and Buzzards have been recorded as being killed by the use of Aldicarb in previous years at various locations within the East Riding of Yorkshire including near Market Weighton and Pocklington.
The bird involved in the October 2018 incident was discovered between Millington and Huggate in the East Riding which is very popular with walkers so the danger of other wildlife or dogs getting poisoned by eating poisoned birds or animals is very real.
The exact circumstances of the bird’s death and how exactly it sustained all its injuries are unclear. What is clear is that it had been shot previously and then ingested a banned toxic substance at a later date. Offences such as this are crimes under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which are punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.
Wildlife and Rural Crime lead Chief Inspector Paul Butler said, “Enquiries have so far failed to identify who is responsible for this particular crime but are ongoing.
“The continued use of these chemicals is highly irresponsible and there is no excuse for it whatsoever. Anyone undertaking any form of pest or predator control should ensure they operate within the law and best practice guidance. Those disregarding it for whatever reason should be aware that it is not acceptable and that my wildlife crime team officers are actively seeking them out”.
Anyone with information about who is using these chemicals or involved in the persecution of birds of prey by any means are asked to come forward with this information which will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Raptor persecution is a national wildlife crime priority which Humberside Police takes very seriously and works alongside other agencies to investigate offences.
If you find a poisoned victim or bait, please do not touch it, instead cover it over if possible and warn others to keep away. Make a note the exact location, take photos and report it to the police straight away.
Guy Shorrock, Senior Investigations Officer at the RSPB, stated, “There have been a number of incidents in the East Riding area involving the poisoning of buzzards by this highly toxic banned pesticide. We are grateful for police enquires into this latest case and would urge anyone with information to contact them.
“You can also contact the RSPB in strictest confidence on 0300 999 0101 if you have any information about birds of prey being illegally killed in your area”.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation should call Humberside Police on the non-emergency number 101 quoting investigation number 16/99978/18 which is being dealt with by WCO PC 1529 Day.