Injured Red Kite put down after shooting

Injured Red Kite put down after shooting

5 June 2024

A RED kite had to be euthanised by a vet after it was shot in the Mournes.

The kite, which was named Vivienne, was found near Mayobridge and was put down because of its injuries.

An X-ray later showed that pellets were embedded in her wing and neck, fracturing a bone, according to the police.

Officers are investigating the attack, which occurred on April 20, as a wildlife crime and have appealed to the public for help in finding out who was responsible.

Vivienne is believed to be the 18th red kite illegally killed since the species was reintroduced to Northern Ireland in 2008. 

Hatched in 2018 from a nest in the Dromara Hills, Vivienne’s unusual pale plumage made her easily recognisable and distinguishable from other red kites, the RSPB has said.

She had been admired by birdwatchers, members of the local community and visitors and was a regularly seen in the Dromara area.

She had previously been found in poor condition in 2021 and was rehabilitated by volunteers before being returned to the wild.

However, despite the committed efforts made to ensure Vivienne’s survival, just three years later her life ended prematurely after she sustained fatal shotgun wounds.

Dean Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer said: “The fact that this particular red kite was such a well-known character in the area, will cause a lot of upset to the local community and really highlights the risk that birds of prey face on a day-to-day basis in Northern Ireland, all because some individuals choose to kill them.

“The shooting of Vivienne is just the latest in a growing number of raptor persecution cases in the country and these are likely to be only a small proportion of the actual numbers being killed.

“If you have any information relating to this incident or the illegal killing of any bird of prey in Northern Ireland, please contact RSPB and the PSNI, so we can effectively tackle and prevent these crimes.”

A  PSNI spokesperson said: “Police take all wildlife crime very seriously and are appealing to anyone who has information about what may have happened to this protected bird to call us.”

Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to contact the PSNI on 101 and quote the crime reference case 1229/220424. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online.

They can also call the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101 or email

Red kites had been absent from Northern Ireland for over 200 years. Since their reintroduction in 2008, their numbers have been slowly increasing. There are currently believed to be around 25 territorial pairs in the province. 

Although fully protected under The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, since their reintroduction red kites have suffered continuously from illegal persecution.