The killing of birds of prey has been called a 'stain' on the reputation of Nidderdale AONB by a committee chair.
North Yorkshire topped the list of an RSPB report released this week on the illegal persecutions of birds such as red kites in the UK, 54 cases were recorded between 2012 and 2016.
Chair of the AONB’s Joint Advisory Committee, Nigel Simms, condemned killings that have taken place in the area, urging those with evidence to contact police.
Mr Simms said: "The continuing persecution of birds of prey in the AONB is outrageous. It is a stain on our reputation as a nationally-protected landscape in which wildlife – including birds of prey like buzzards, red kites, hen harriers and peregrine falcons - is part and parcel of what makes Nidderdale such an amazing place to be.
"We unreservedly condemn illegal persecution of birds of prey. It is starting to have a damaging effect on tourism businesses and it undermines the work of law-abiding landowners and gamekeepers who are actively working alongside us to improve prospects for all forms of wildlife in the AONB.
"We would urge anyone with evidence of persecution to contact the police."
The county figures are more than double the next highest in the list, the Scottish Borders and Powys with 22. The RSPB previously reported 24 cases of red kite persecutions since 2007, with eight cases of shootings and 16 poisonings.
Earlier this year residents, businesses and Crimestoppers offered a £4,000 reward for information on those involved across the area. It followed the discovery of a shot red kite near Greenhow.
A balance needs to be struck between educating those involved and making an example according to Chairman of the Nidderdale Chamber of Trade, Keith Tordoff.
Mr Tordoff said: "Many people just do not believe that birds of prey don't pose a threat to their livelihood. The two however can co-exist together, the shooting fraternity and the wildlife.
He added: "People in Nidderdale however do not want this reputation, but if people still see them as a threat then we need to look at educating them."