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Calls over birds of prey killings

 
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tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44268
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 05 7:29 pm    Post subject: Calls over birds of prey killings  Reply with quote    

Birds of prey being re-introduced to areas of the UK are under threat because they are being illegally killed, experts are warning.

Breeds such as the red kite and hen harrier are being targeted, especially in areas managed as grouse moors, says the UK Raptor Working Group.

The group was established in 1995 to advise ministers over the issue.

Professor Colin Galbraith of the UK Raptor group said the persecution of raptors was a "disgrace".

Buzzard success

Birds of prey have always been unpopular among gamekeepers and pigeon fanciers because they prey on red grouse in the uplands, racing pigeons, and pheasants prior to their release in the lowlands.

But over the last five years, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the country conservation agencies have been helping to implement the Working Group's recommendations, the UK Raptor Working Group says.

These included the launch by the police in 2004 of Operation Artemis, to target those responsible for the continuing illegal persecution of threatened hen harriers and a decline in the levels of illegal persecution in some areas of lowland Britain, leading to the return of buzzards to areas where this bird has previously been eliminated.

But, it said, the illegal persecution of birds of prey continues in many areas. Published research has shown that this is especially prevalent in areas managed as grouse moors.

Professor Colin Galbraith, co-chairman of the UK Raptor Working Group and director of Scientific and Advisory Services in Scottish Natural Heritage said: "It is very pleasing to see so much progress as a result of the report and the vigour with which organisations now work together is encouraging.

"However, the illegal persecution of raptors remains a disgrace. It is important now to focus our efforts on combating this persecution in conjunction with the landowners, the police and other authorities."

The status of the hen harrier in England is now markedly worse than it was five years ago and it may cease to be a breeding species if the current level of persecution continues, the group says.

In some areas of Scotland, the re-establishment of the red kite continues to be jeopardised by illegal killing and each year brings further reports of the persecution of other raptors, notably golden eagles and peregrines.

Unfortunately among some game keepers there remains a deep-seated attitude... they see a bird of prey as a threat to the rearing of game
Grahame Madge, RSPB

One hundred red kites were reintroduced in both the Chilterns and north Scotland over three years starting in 1989.

In 2004, 215 pairs of the bird were recorded in the Chilterns, while in Scotland just 35 pairs were counted.

In 2003, the RSPB reported 143 cases of illegal shooting, trapping or nest destruction of birds of prey and 91 cases of illegal poisoning. The totals include the poisoning of 16 red kites.

Golden eagles are threatened by persecution in parts of mainland Scotland and some local populations face the prospect of significant decline unless action is taken, according to recent research published in the scientific journal Biological Conservation.

Grahame Madge of the RSPB said: "Unfortunately among some game keepers there remains a deep-seated attitude towards protecting their shooting interests and they see a bird of prey as a threat to the rearing of game.

"Even this year, we have already found cases of birds of prey poisoning. It is still a considerable problem, particularly in upland areas."
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/4231131.stm

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
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Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 05 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks a tad one sided. I don't doubt that some land owners may poison raptors. However, poisoned bait seems to be used for various reasons by a variety of people. Most Gamekeepers do a vast amount of conservation and there's not any mention of that in the article.

I gather Operation Artemis is generally viewed as rather a poor piece of policing.

Silas



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 6848
Location: Staffordshire
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 05 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hmm. Using poisioned bait should be, if it is not already, illigal. It is indiscriminate and is a real cause of raptor deaths - quite often deliberately.

Just where do you get your information about Artemis being a poor piece of policing?

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 05 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you want to see red kites, drive up the M40 near stokenchurch / beaconsfield way (sorry don't know junction numbers). Everytime we drive through there are a dozen or so pairs floating around up there. despite living 'In the heart of the Chilterns' and walking in the country on a daily basis, I've never seen one anywhere else. Tommorow, we are going on a red kite walk. Bet there's not one!

Treacodactyl
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 25697
Location: Jumping on the bandwagon of opportunism
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 05 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Silas wrote:
Just where do you get your information about Artemis being a poor piece of policing?


Shooting press, news papers and the BBC. If I remember correctly Country File covered it.

Do a quick Google and you'll find plenty and it will be covered by many of the organisations listed on this site.

As I've said before I don't like using poison bait for anything, slugs, mice rats or anything. Some of the problems may be caused by people leaving poisoned bait for foxes and other animals. This is wrong and should be stopped but don't only blame game keepers.

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