Five hen harriers missing from North of England in four months

Five hen harrier birds have now gone missing from the north of England in just four months.

Rural police are investigating the disappearance of the latest bird from the Upper Swaledale area.

Mick was fledged in Northumberland last year and fitted with a tracking tag which stopped transmitting on December 21 in the Thwaite area of North Yorkshire. A search of the area has been carried out but no trace of the bird or equipment has been found.

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Natural England reported Mick’s disappearance to North Yorkshire Police and is working closely with wildlife crime officers, local landowners, the Moorland Association and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The loss of the juvenile hen harrier brings the total to five within four months across northern England – and is said to be a serious blow to the small English hen harrier population. Interference with hen harriers is also a criminal offence.

Rob Cooke, from Natural England, said: “The disappearance of a hen harrier is deeply concerning to all who appreciate these rare and impressive birds. Any information that can shed light on what has happened to Mick will be gratefully received by North Yorkshire Police.”

David Butterworth, Chief Executive at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said the incident was damaging to the reputation of the area.

He added: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the Yorkshire Dales’ reputation as a wonderful place to visit is being damaged by incidents like this. We have pledged to provide whatever support we can to help the Police and Natural England find out what happened in this particular case.”

Anyone with any information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Quote reference number 12170014975 when passing information.