Raptor persecution 'embarrassing' for Yorkshire Dales, says national park chief


The head of the Yorkshire Dales National Park has described the RSPB's recent Birdcrime report as "embarrassing" for the area.

The report singled out the park – which currently has the highest density of proven and suspected incidents – as the worst area for the persecution of birds of prey in Britain.

The Yorkshire Dales has an infamous reputation when it comes to the illegal persecution of birds of prey such as Hen Harrier (Ian Bollen).

David Butterworth, Chief Executive Officer of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: "It is yet again hugely embarrassing that this part of the country has been shamed as being the worst for proven and suspected bird of prey persecution in the UK.

"An end to the illegal killing of birds cannot come soon enough. Some of the instances of criminality highlighted in the report beggar belief: the stamping to death of four Hen Harrier chicks and one harrier having its head pulled from its body while still alive. Truly shocking levels of depravity.

"It's all the more galling because there are signs of positive change. Some local land managers are doing great work to conserve birds of prey in the national park. We are currently preparing a new evidence report on bird of prey populations in the national park on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership.

"We hope this report will be published in the coming weeks. Sadly, all of this will count for little while the persecution of birds of prey continues."