Raptor persecution is one of the six UK wildlife crime priorities, set in 2013 by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) UK Wildlife Crime Tasking and Co-ordination Group, which have been assessed as posing the greatest current threat to the conservation status of speciesa. The PAW NI Raptor Subgroup supports the implementation plans for the monitoring, awareness and prevention of raptor persecution in Northern Ireland.
This is the first report of the persecution and poisoning of raptors in Northern Ireland and covers the period 2009 – 2013 inclusive. It is intended that future reports will be published annually, with reference to temporal and spatial changes in both annual and five-year trends.
Since 2009 a total of 30 illegal persecution incidents, involving seven species of birds of prey have been confirmed in Northern Ireland. These 30 incidents include the confirmed shooting, poisoning or trapping of 33 individual birds of prey as well as one incident of nest destruction. The most frequently recorded species involved were buzzard (56%), red kite (21%) and peregrine falcon (12%). There was evidence of secondary rodenticide poisoning in eight incidents, involving nine individuals of four species, but in none of these incidents was secondary poisoning determined as the cause of death.
An additional 10 confirmed incidents were collated separately based on the discovery of poisoned baits and/or other poisoned wildlife found in circumstances that could theoretically have resulted in raptor persecution had they not been discovered and removed. There were a further four probable incidents collated involving six individual raptors.
This report makes recommendations on reporting and recording of raptor injury and mortality incidents and increasing public awareness and education, to help combat illegal bird of prey persecution and poisoning in Northern Ireland through a partnership approach.Publication date: January 1, 2014