Bird of prey recovering from gun injuries

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A protected bird of prey is being nursed back to health after it was shot down near Malton.

A large adult female red kite was found on farmland at Low Marishes and is in the care of Jean Thorpe, who runs Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation.

An x-ray image of the pellet lodged by the bird's throat.

An x-ray image of the pellet lodged by the bird's throat.

The species is protected under schedule one of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Ms Thorpe said: “The bird was gathered up by the tenant farmer and I called straight away to collect it. She had slight wounds to both wings and a small amount of blood in her mouth.

“She was X-rayed last Saturday and found to have been shot with a shotgun. A shotgun pellet was clearly visible by her throat. She is doing well and, hopefully, she should be released again soon.”

PC Jez Walmsley, a wildlife crime officer based at Malton Police Station, is investigating the incident. The injured bird was discovered on Good Friday.

During the last 30 years, red kites have been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to a long-running protection programme.

Dwindling numbers had been confined to an area of mid-Wales, but there are now around 1,600 breeding pairs throughout the UK.