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Unauthorised biking causes death of grouse chick

05 Jul 2024 2 minute read
The dead grouse. Image: NRW

A red grouse chick is believed to have been killed following an incident involving a mountain bike at a protected site.

On 18 June 2024 Natural Resources Wales (NRW) officers received a report from a member of the public that a red grouse chick appeared to have been run over by a mountain bike on Ruabon Mountain, Denbighshire.

It is reported the chick had tyre marks along the body when it was discovered.

Ruabon Mountain is part of the wider Ruabon and Llantysilio Mountains and Minera Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and off-roading in this area is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Bird community

The moorland on Ruabon Mountain supports a varied and characteristic breeding bird community, which includes red grouse.

These species use the dry heath and blanket bog habitat for nesting and feeding their young.

If disturbed, a brood usually scatters, with the adult red grouse often separating to follow different chicks. This makes them vulnerable to harm.

Rhys Ellis, NRW Environment Team Leader for Denbighshire, said: “The sad death of a grouse chick following an apparent collision with an unauthorised biker comes at a time when nature is already facing numerous threats.

“Illegal off-road biking and driving can have a harmful impact on landscapes and cause distress to both wildlife and local communities. It can also cause far-reaching consequences for the environment by disturbing sensitive habitats.

“We encourage anyone with knowledge of this incident to help protect the environment, wildlife and local communities by calling the police and reporting such matters on 101 or to NRW on 0300 065 3000.”

Sergeant Peter Evans, North Wales Police Rural Crime Team, said: “Anyone who witnessed this incident, or anyone with information, is asked to contact us at the earliest opportunity.

“Illegal off-roading at protected sites is an issue the Rural Crime Team and partners are taking very seriously, and it will not be tolerated.

“Further police patrols will be taking place in the area as part of the recently launched Operation Dales that sees Rural Crime Team officers targeting off-road bikes being ridden illegally anti-socially in rural areas of Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire.”

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