New report dated 2011shows poison is leading cause of unnatural death of birds of prey in Ireland

The first national report on birds of prey persecution and poisoning in Ireland has been published.  A total of 33 incidents were recorded in 2011. 24 of them were fatal. of the birds died from toxicosis, eight were shot, and another bird died after a human inflicted an injury to one of its wings.

Red Kite was the most common type of bird affected, followed by Common Buzzard.  The report was published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Heritage. 

The report is the result of cooperation between the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine’s Regional Veterinary Laboratories and the State Laboratory, and also involves An Garda Síochána, the Golden Eagle Trust and BirdWatch Ireland. 

33 poisoning or persecution incidents affecting birds of prey were recorded in Ireland in 2011, according to a report published today by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 15 birds of prey were confirmed poisoned, and four more suspected cases were recorded. 8 birds of prey were shot.

Some of the deaths were accidental, but many were deliberate. The most frequent casualty was the red kite, a native species that was recently re-introduced toIreland. It is believed that seven of the ten kites found dead were poisoned by eating rats that had themselves been poisoned. As well as red kite, other raptor species that were deliberately targeted included peregrine falcon, buzzard, sparrowhawk, and kestrel.

The report notes that the use of tracking devices on birds has enabled dead birds to be found, but this also means that the true levels of mortality are likely to be significantly higher.

The use of poison has been greatly restricted under EU law in recent years. It is illegal to poison any animal or birds other than rats, mice or rabbits, in Ireland and only then using certain registered products. The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use has recently been set up with funding from industry. This campaign aims to promote best practice so that rat poison in particular should not get into the wildlife food chain where it harms owls, kites and other birds of prey.

The poisoning of golden and white-tailed sea eagles has been a particular problem in recent years, but fortunately in 2011, no poisonings were recorded. Records of poisoning and persecution in 2012 are currently being analysed and the second annual report is due for release shortly.

further information contact Barry O’Donoghue (087 9110715) or Ciaran O’Keeffe (087 2646416)

1 comment to New report dated 2011shows poison is leading cause of unnatural death of birds of prey in Ireland

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