THE RSPB is warning that people and pets are being put at risk by poisoned traps laid in a raptor 'death zone'.
North Yorkshire Police confirmed this week that a red kite found dead near Pateley Bridge in Nidderdale in March died from pesticide poisoning.
The test results revealed that the bird was killed by the insecticide bendiocarb - one of the top five most common substances present in raptor poisoning cases.
It also had the banned Isofenphos pesticide in its system and both chemicals are extremely toxic to people and pets.
According to data collated by the RSPB, the Nidderdale area – which is dominated by extensive driven grouse shooting – is the worst blackspot for raptor persecution crimes in England, clocking up more incidents in the last seven years than anywhere else.
Howard Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “Poison baits deliberately placed out in the open, where anyone could find them, puts people, pets and wildlife in danger.
"Based on government toxicology data, from 2009 to 2018 the RSPB recorded an astonishing 369 incidents of the illegal use of pesticides to kill or target birds of prey.
"Bendiocarb, a very toxic insecticide, is something we come across again and again being used for this purpose.”
Despite extensive investigations, North Yorkshire Police have not been able to find evidence to understand how the pesticides reached the red kite or to identify those responsible for misusing these toxic substances.
Mr Jones said: "Nidderdale has become a death zone for birds of prey.
"Our message to the community is this; if you enjoy spending time in the countryside, please be vigilant. Report anything suspicious.
"If you have information about someone killing birds of prey, please speak out.
"This is happening on your doorstep, to your wildlife. Let’s make it known that this barbaric, relentless destruction of wildlife is not something North Yorkshire will tolerate."
RSPB investigators can be contacted on 01767-680551.