Majority of raptors poisoned in Scotland killed by illegal pesticide

Dead buzzard found in Highlands

Buzzard: Raptor found dead in the Highlands in 2014. RSPB

The majority of raptors poisoned in Scotland were killed by the same illegal pesticide, wildlife experts have revealed. Around 70% of 83 birds killed by poison since 2009 had consumed carbofuran.

The pesticide, which was banned in 2001 and made illegal in Scotland in 2005, was responsible for the death of a satellite-tagged golden eagle in the Angus Glens in November 2013.

The Scottish Government’s Wildlife Crime in Scotland annual report has revealed the number of crimes recorded has remained static since 2009. The largest increase involved fish, deer and rabbit poaching.

Paul Wheelhouse, environment minister, said: “While poaching is the most commonly recorded offence, crimes against our beautiful birds of prey and pearl mussels remain the most serious in terms of damage to Scotland’s natural environment and our reputation. Though the numbers involved are relatively small, there is absolutely no room for complacency.

“I remain unsympathetic to those who believe that crimes against wildlife are of little consequence and can somehow be justified. Offences can have massive ecological impacts whilst others involve great levels of cruelty and I will not accept this in a modern, vibrant Scotland.”

Six buzzards and 16 red kites were found dead in the Ross-shire area of the Highlands between March and June this year. Police confirmed that at least 12 of the birds were poisoned.

The number of wildlife crimes reported to police has risen by around 5.5% since 2009, with a 6.5% rise in convictions.

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