Buzzard killing in Yorkshire Dales sparks anger after birds "lured to their deaths" by eagle owl decoys on grouse moor

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have expressed dismay and shock after footage released showed two buzzards being lured to their deaths on a North Yorkshire grouse moor.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have expressed dismay at video footage showing an eagle owl being used as a decoy to lure buzzards to their deaths (Photo: Adobe)

The footage, released by the RSPB investigations team, showed a large eagle owl being used to draw in buzzards.

A man nearby, who had tethered the owl to a post, was filmed with a gun nearby, and went on to shoot two buzzards, who can be seen falling to the ground in the footage.

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The RSPB described the eagle owl as "terrified" throughout the process.

The video was passed on to North Yorkshire Police. A man was interviewed under caution, but the case did not meet the evidential threshold for prosecution.

Neil Heseltine, Chair of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said: ”This shows a callous disregard for the law and birds of prey that is all too familiar from some within the community. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority condemns raptor persecution in the strongest possible terms and continues to work closely with partners and others to stamp out this crime once and for all.

“This incident, and the continuing issue of bird of prey persecution in the County demands maximum exposure. People need to know what is happening here and the devastating impact this is having on our protected species.

“All birds of prey are protected by law and killing them is a criminal offence. If this activity continues it is difficult to see how the Government in England will not be forced to examine other ways in which to prevent this criminality. Certainly the actions of the individual involved in this case can only be assisting those who wish to see the end of driven grouse shooting. For that reason, if no other, you would hope someone in the community might expose their obnoxious criminal activity."

Luke Steele, Spokesperson for Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors, said: “Grouse shooting moors are implicated in a wave of wildlife crime, with the shooting of two buzzards being the latest in a salvo of shocking and cruel incidents in Yorkshire’s uplands.

"We’re calling on the Government to introduce grouse moor licensing to give the authorities much-needed powers to close down shoot operators implicated in wildlife crime.”

For concerns about a possible wildlife crime, you should call 101 or speak in confidence about raptor persecution directly with the RSPB on 0300 9990101.