COMEDIAN and ornithologist Bill Oddie has joined calls for Bradford Council to end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.

The celebrity bird watcher and TV presenter , who also once performed ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at’ has expressed concern at the damage being caused to the moor’s wildlife by shooting.

Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor (BBIM) is heading a high-profile campaign for Bradford Council to abandon the controversial deed awarded to the Bingley Moor Partnership in 2008, which allows game bird shooting on the land.

The organisation achieved a partial-victory at City Hall earlier this month, where a decision was made by the Council chiefs to prohibit the trapping of natural predators, including stoats and weasels.

BBIM has since mounted a new petition calling for the abandonment of the shooting rights, which has already received more than 400 signatures.

Mr Oddie, a member of comedy trio The Goodies, said: “Ilkley Moor has a special place in my heart since performing On Ilkla Moor Baht’at in the style of Joe Cocker for John Peel.

"The moor is also important for the conservation of wildlife and I do not want to see Ilkley Moor harmed. Bradford Council must end grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor.”

Luke Steele, spokesman for BBIM, said: “Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor publicly thanks Bill Oddie for lending his support to ending grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor and teaching the importance of protecting wildlife.”

“Bradford Council must respond to the growing consensus among conservationists and moor users on the harms caused to the moor by grouse shooting. The only realistic option is to end the shoot, the last in the country to be permitted on public land.

"Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor is a coalition of campaigners across West Yorkshire seeking an end to grouse shooting on Ilkley Moor. BBIM represents the interests of wildlife and the rights of walkers through peaceful protests, education, lobbying and lawful direct action."

In 2008 Bradford Council awarded the Bingley Moor Partnership a ten year contract allowing the commercial shooting of grouse on Ilkley Moor and related-moorland management.

A Council spokesman said in response to Mr Oddie's involvement: "Bradford Council's executive agreed on February 10 that grouse shooting would continue for the next three years, but predator traps would be banned."