World News – FI – Dozens of birds of prey illegally killed in 2019, RSPB report says


Dozens of birds of prey were illegally shot, trapped and poisoned in 2019, according to the latest RSPB bird crime report

There were 85 confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecution last year, involving birds such as buzzards, red kites, peregrine falcons, golden eagles and harriers, according to the report

The highest concentrations of crime were in the north of England and Scotland, with North Yorkshire the worst place, and half of the confirmed incidents took place in protected landscapes, said the conservation charity

The RSPB said its data, peer-reviewed scientific studies and population surveys showed the persecution was focused on and near the grouse barrens, and called for stronger action by the industry to end the slaughter of protected species

He also said an increasing number of satellite-tagged birds of prey, such as harriers, were disappearing under suspicious circumstances – leading conservationists to believe they had been killed illegally

And the persecution continued during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to the RSPB, its investigative unit seeing its busiest spring in history, dealing with reports of bird of prey crimes and helping the police in their investigations

The charity urges the government to act on the « environmentally harmful practices » of the grouse heathland, including the persecution of birds of prey and the burning of heath vegetation on peaty soils

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All birds of prey are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, but the RSPB has warned that the law does not protect them

Mark Thomas, UK RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “Once again the Bird Crime Report shows protected birds of prey like harriers, basking sharks and eagles royals are persecuted relentlessly, especially in areas dominated by grouse hunting

« At a time when the world – and the UK in particular – is experiencing a catastrophic decline in wildlife populations, the destruction of rare wildlife species looks like the opposite of progress »

He said there could be 12 times as many harriers breeding in England if illegal logging ceases and the shooting community cannot « control the criminals in their ranks »

« UK governments must implement tougher legislation to bring the spruce grouse hunting sector into line with the law, eliminate environmentally damaging practices and meet wildlife recovery targets. United Kingdom, « he said

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, which represents owners and managers of moorland in England, said bird crime figures were down from those released by the RSPB last year

And she said, « We condemn in the strongest terms all forms of wildlife crime, including any incident of persecution of birds of prey, and the heathland sector has a zero tolerance approach to it. with regard to these activities

« The Moorland Association and its members are committed to restoring populations of birds of prey to sustainable levels and are delighted to have contributed to the recent increase in their populations. »

She marked a record breeding season for hen harriers in England with 12 of 19 successful nests located in the grouse moorland, producing 40 of the 60 chicks that have fledged

« The grouse barrens are welcome habitats for a wide range of wildlife and we are working diligently alongside local law enforcement groups to combat any criminal activity, » she added.

A government spokesperson said, “We recognize the importance of tackling wildlife crime, which is why we are directly funding the National Wildlife Crime Unit, which provides intelligence and support to law enforcement agencies protecting our precious wildlife, including birds of prey « 

« We are convinced that those found guilty of killing these majestic animals should be subject to the full force of the law »

Birds of prey

World news – FI – Dozens of birds of prey illegally killed in 2019, RSPB report says



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