Illegal Bird Persecution in Britain Continues, RSPB Warns
Illegal persecution of birds in Britain is continuing, according to the Birdcrime report published last week by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
The research shows that there were 208 reports of shootings and killings of birds of prey last year, including shootings of four peregrine falcons, five sparrowhawks and 15 buzzards.
In 2012, there were also over 70 poisoning incidents including seven red kites and nine buzzards. However, those numbers have seen a decline in the past few years, with 153 reports back in 2009, 128 in 2010 and 101 in 2011.
The society claims that it is difficult to estimate whether there is a decline in the overall poisoning, as not all incidents are reported, even though there are early signs that the number of poisonings in Scotland is falling. This is probably due to the introduction of the offence of vicarious liability, where landowners and employers are held responsible for the crimes committed by their workers against wildlife.
The levels of reporting of such crimes could be lower and the numbers of incidents might actually be higher because many incidents are likely to go unreported and unnoticed, said a spokesperson of RSPB.
There are areas in the countryside of the United Kingdom, such as the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland, which have become “no-fly zones” for birds of prey, with grouse moors being the key problem having an impact on the population of some birds of prey. The intensively managed upland has prevented some species from occupying parts of their natural habitat, in England more specifically, according to the report.
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