York & North Yorkshire

Red kite found shot in North Yorkshire 'lucky to survive'

Injured Red Kite Image copyright North Yorkshire Police
Image caption Police said the bird was lucky to have survived the shooting

A bird of prey was "lucky to survive" after being targeted with a shotgun in a North Yorkshire field, police say.

The red kite, an adult female, was discovered injured at Low Marishes, near Malton on 25 March.

North Yorkshire Police said the bird had received medical attention was now being treated at a rescue centre.

Red kites are protected under schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and anyone found killing one can face up to six months in jail.

Wildlife crime officer, PC Jez Walmsley, said the fact the bird had survived and might live in the wild again did not diminish the severity of the crime.

"This is a magnificent bird of prey that has been deliberately targeted and shot," he said.

"We are extremely lucky to be able to see these birds in the wild here in Ryedale, and as a community we should be appalled that someone has chosen to try to kill it."

Fine or prison

PC Walmsley urged anyone with any information to contact the force.

Red kite numbers in the British Isles have been steadily increasing since the beginning of a reintroduction programme in the 1980s, according to the RSPB.

It is still afforded the highest level of protection and it remains an offence to take, injure or kill a red kite or to take, damage or destroy its nest, eggs or young.

Offenders can face fines of up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.

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