A buzzard found dead on a North York Moors dry stone wall had been poisoned, tests have confirmed.
North Yorkshire Police is appealing for information after toxicology tests showed the buzzard died of suspected chloralose poisoning.
The bird of prey was found on January 29, 2018 on top of a dry-stone wall, next to a layby on the Kildale to Commondale road near Percy Rigg.
It was found by a member of the public, who reported it to the RSPB and North Yorkshire Police.
Officers say the area is very public, and it is unlikely the bird died where it was found, but appears to have been placed onto the wall deliberately.
The bird was collected and no obvious signs of trauma were found. An x-ray revealed no signs of injury.
Toxicology tests it was probably poisoned by chloralose – more commonly used to kill mice.
Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Sadly, as a county, we have more confirmed incidents of raptor persecution than any other county in England – a situation North Yorkshire Police is absolutely determined to tackle.
“It is saddening that this magnificent bird has been poisoned. I would urge anyone with any information about this incident.”
Jenny Shelton, RSPB investigations liaison officer, said: “Raptor persecution is a serious, ongoing issue affecting some of our most incredible birds of prey.
“Our UK population of buzzards dropped during the 20th century largely due to illegal killing, and it’s alarming that these practices are continuing even today.
“This was a despicable and deliberate act. If you have any information, please speak out.”
Contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting reference number 12180127114. Or to speak in confidence about the incident, or any raptor persecution, call the RSPB Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 9990101.