Poison accounted for 71.5% of illegal incidents that impacted raptors since 2007
Use of poison accounted for 71.5% of illegal incidents that impacted raptors since 2007, according to new data.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has today (Wednesday, October 21) published a review of incidents that have been recorded to impact native Irish birds of prey between 2007 and 2019.
Some of the incidents had multiple issues, such as birds of prey both shot and poisoned, while a number of incidents comprised of multiple birds, such as more than one individual killed by a poisoned bait incident.
294 incidents involved birds of prey, with a total of 301 individual birds of prey impacted. All regularly breeding native Irish raptor species were confirmed to have suffered some form of poisoning, persecution or other direct anthropogenic non-habitat related cause of injury or mortality.
The birds of prey recorded as most frequently impacted were: common buzzard (100 casualties); red kite (46); barn owl (43); and peregrine falcon (36).
The report’s author and coordinator of RAPTOR between 2013 and 2019, Dr. Barry O’Donoghue, said: “Birds of prey are magnificent creatures in their own right and speak to something deep within us about a wild Ireland.
“They are indicators of the health of our eco-systems and countryside, whether a barn owl hunting a hay meadow at night or a hen harrier gliding across a moorland. The help of the public has been central in bringing these incidents to light and for highlighting the support that our native birds of prey need.”
Illegal incidents and prosecutions
Between 2007 and 2019, 199 incidents of that could be termed ‘illegal’ (involving direct persecution or misuse of poisons) were recorded.
Poison incidents (involving poisoned meat bait or illegal poisons) accounted for 71.5% of such cases, while shootings accounted for 28% and trapping/mutilation accounted for 0.5% of such cases.
A total of 392 individual animals were impacted by such incidents, including a total of 164 birds of prey.
Poison and persecution incidents have been recorded in every county, with particular blackspots in the east and south-west.
In total, poisons were detected in a total of 197 incidents, involving a total of 510 individual animals killed or injured (including raptors, other animals and domestic animals).
A total of 12 different types of poison were detected and their prevalence. Poisons were regularly found acting in tandem, particularly in the case of rodenticides.