Barn owl with horrific injuries found in North Yorkshire

A barn owl with horrific injuries has been found near Marishes in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

According to expert raptor rehabilitator Jean Thorpe, the barn owl was found close to death. It had suffered two broken legs and its injuries were consistent with having been caught in a spring trap. Jean believes the owl had been released from the trap and then left to die a lingering death, unable to hunt with badly infected wounds.

The owl was taken to Jean’s wildlife centre but died shortly after arrival.

This area is a notorious raptor persecution blackspot. Spring traps are only legal if they are set within either a natural or artifical tunnel to prevent non-target species getting caught in the trap’s jaws.

Anybody with any information about this horrific case please contact Wildlife Police Officer Jez Walmsley at Malton Police Station (Tel: 101).

Photos by Jean Thorpe. Map by RPUK.


16 Responses to “Barn owl with horrific injuries found in North Yorkshire”

  1. 1 Jimmy
    February 6, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    We really are dealing with lowest form of vermin

  2. 3 Tony Dickinson
    February 6, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    This appalling action makes my blood boil. Such a beautiful Bird to suffer like this is an act of criminal barbarity. I am a Yorkshire man and am truly ashamed of the actions going on in Yorkshire. Any information please pass to the Police. Right minded folk must get this persecution stopped.

  3. February 6, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Pretty obvious what has caused those injuries.

  4. 5 Secret Squirrel
    February 7, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Spring traps should be illegal. We allow the entitled to kill wildlife as ‘vermin’ when the only threat they pose is to the size of their bag

    • 6 lizzybusy
      February 7, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Under the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) (implemented by Russia, Canada, USA, all of the EU) the UK should have banned the traps used on shooting estates in the UK is the Fenn and Springer traps in June 2016 but the UK obtained a derogation to delay implementation for 2 years. They have stated that they will implement the international agreement but they have been unable to find suitable traps for stoats. That is despite New Zealand manufacturing and using traps which comply with the AIHTS! The shooting industry has objected because they are expensive!

      Defra have played some outrageous games … Too many to list here but hopefully this nonsense will end soon.

  5. 7 Greengrass
    February 7, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Just a normal activity on many “sporting” estates and on most intensively managed grouse moors.

  6. 8 John Miles
    February 7, 2018 at 10:00 am

    One of the jobs I did while working on an estate in North Yorkshire was to take down loads of pole traps. In those days the owls were just left on the ground to rot with lots of bones to show it had been going on a long time. Next door I was supposed to look after a poplar plantation. [before plastic tubes were invented!] Every tree had been ringed barked by voles and were dead! I wonder why there were so many voles!!

  7. 9 Tony Warburton MBE
    February 7, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Well said John and every one else. In 1982 I co-authored the first monograph on the Barn Owl (‘The Barn Owl’, Bunn, Warburton & Wilson, Poyser) in which we showed a photo of a dead Barn Owl hanging upside down after being caught in an illegal pole trap. And this was in my own patch of West Cumbria. And here we are 36 years later, with the same crimes being committed on a daily basis by gamekeepers and the shooting fraternity, not to mention the ever-increasing use of poisons. In my early days it was mevinphos, now it’s carbofuran. Stand by for the denials and crocodile tears from the band of killers who kill off every bird of prey which they say are a menace to their grouse and pheasants – which they wish to shoot and then dump after doing so. And they claim to be the true conservationists, What a laugh, and what a sick world we live in. It’s high time the government, police and judiciary (especially the CPS) stopped pussy-footing and ‘doing an ostrich’ and started handing out the prison sentences and fines that are the only way to handle those who think they are beyond the laws of the land – and that includes the landowners who hire the killers.

  8. 11 Les Wallace
    February 7, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Says an awful lot for Jean Thorpe that she’s been dealing with this sort of cruelty and ignorance for years and she still keeps going. I started applying to volunteer at the Birdlife Malta camp 6 years ago, but chickened out I’m rather embarrassed to admit as I think I would have really struggled to deal with injured birds. When you consider that not only are the people involved in trying to protect raptors having to deal with dead, maimed and missing birds but also the insults, slurs and smears from the people doing the actual killing it makes you realize what a pus filled boil DGS is.

  9. 12 Tony Warburton MBE
    February 7, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    Don’t feel embarrassed Les. I too decided not to go to Malta -.because I knew I would have ‘lost it’ and probably end up in a Maltese gaol for assault! As for Jean Thorpe, she and I go back a long way and so far as I am concerned she is a saint who should have ben made a Dame of the British Empire years ago, Bless you Jean, from all of us.

    • 13 Mike Nicoll
      February 8, 2018 at 3:30 am

      You all might be jumping the gun!
      A few years back I found a freshly dead, newly fledged Sparrowhawk with exactly the same injuries as suffered by this Barn Owl. It was lying on the road at the foot of Glen Esk and it’s parents were alarming close by and presumably it’s siblings were skulking nearby. There was no rigour mortis and the blood was oozing from its wounds. It had clearly died minutes earlier. I initially jumped to the conclusion that it had been gintrapped but I knew that bit of ground pretty well and hadn’t come across any signs of traps in the area. I knew where the Sparrowhawks eyrie was [ only 100m from the dead juv] and a couple of pairs of Buzzards were nesting in close proximity.These birds had successfully reared young over the previous 2 breeding seasons. I then recalled a near miss with a Barn Owl while travelling in a car in the north of England. The bird appeared low down , out of nowhere and skimmed the roof of the car. I remarked that it was lucky it wasn’t struck by the radio aerial , sticking out of the car roof. If a keeper had trapped the bird surely burying the body would be more likely than tossing it onto the road. No , I suspect the bird had been flying low across or along the road and a car had appeared round a nearby sharp corner and the bird failed to clear the car roof and its dangling legs were smashed by the leading edge of a roof rack.
      We know there is a huge amount of illegal persecution going on but we can’t pin everything onto the keepers.

  10. 14 Tony Warburton MBE
    February 8, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Sorry Mike. I have dealt with many, many road kill or vehicle-hit victims found alive, both Barn Owls and Tawny Owls over 49 years and you will just have to take my word for it that a pole trap victim with shattered legs in exactly the same place on each leg is very obvious and different from the multi-shattered bones of a road kill. And I repeat – illegal pole traps are still being used by keepers as anyone who reads this blog knows only too well.

  11. 15 Chris stead
    February 11, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    I’m sorry but I’ve had a lot of experience in using spring traps and I know the size of the jaws on them. To me it seems that these breaks are too low down the leg to have been caused by a spring trap. I’m not a gamekeeper in fact I dislike them but the truth is the truth and therefore in this instance I’m afraid I will have to say the breaks have been caused by something else.

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