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ANOTHER bird of prey missing in suspicious circumstances in North Yorkshire

ANOTHER bird of prey missing in suspicious circumstances in North Yorkshire

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 2:30pm 21st January 2019.

Police are investigating the suspicious disappearance of another endangered bird of prey in North Yorkshire.

  • A hen harrier has disappeared in North Yorkshire in "suspicious circumstances"
  • "River" is the ninth bird to go missing after being tagged by the RSPB last summer
  • She was last recorded near Nidderdale in a popular grouse shooting spot
  • When a hen harrier dies naturally, the tag keeps transmitting, which allows the RSPB to find the body
  • In this case, the transmitter has stopped sending signals - indicating that River has been killed deliberately

The Hen Harrier, called River, is the ninth bird to go missing after being tagged by the RSPB last summer.

Her tag’s last known transmission came from a driven grouse moor between Colsterdale and Nidderdale – an area with a history of bird of prey persecution – on 14 November.

She was known to have been hunting and roosting in the area for several weeks.

RSPB Investigations staff and North Yorkshire Police searched the area, but there was no sign of the bird or the tag. She has not been heard from since.

Mark Thomas, Head of RSPB Investigations UK, said:

“Again we have news of a disappeared harrier, again in North Yorkshire, and again last known to be on a grouse moor.

"Hen harriers are barely clinging on as a breeding species in England.

"They should be a common and joyful sight over the moorlands of North Yorkshire, however the reality is most people only know them as being rare and persecuted.

"When a tagged hen harrier dies naturally, we expect the tag to continue transmitting, enabling us to find the body.

"This was not the case here. Instead, there was no trace of the tag or the bird, which is highly suspicious.

"When hen harriers disappear like this over an area with a history of raptor persecution, it’s hard not to draw conclusions.”

Hen harriers are rare birds which nest in moorland, especially in the uplands of Northern England and Scotland.

However just nine nests were recorded in England last year, despite enough prey and habitat to support over 300 pairs.

They have not successfully bred in North Yorkshire since 2007.

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