New measures to tackle the deaths of birds of prey in Scotland

By Laura Brown - 17 Mar 2011 17:15:0 GMT
New measures to tackle the deaths of birds of prey in Scotland

More than 130 birds of prey have been killed in Scotland in the last five years, and the number is increasing.

Figures releases showing hotspots of the birds killed by poisonous chemicals reveal last year seven red kites and four golden eagles were killed. A sea eagle, brought to Scotland as part of a reintroduction programme was killed in the last twelve months.

The numbers come from a map of poisoning hotspots compiled by PAW (Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime). It shows the highest concentrations are in central Scotland, the South East and parts of the eastern Highlands.

Unveiling the report at the Duone estate in Perthshire, Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Environment Minister, said the activity was ''unacceptable''.

''It's disappointing to see that there has been no improvement in the number of birds of prey being deliberately and illegally poisoned in Scotland in the last 12 months.''

"The fact that 132 of these iconic species have been targeted in the last five years is unacceptable.''

''It's especially sad that some of the victims, such as sea eagles, are part of reintroduction programmes and there really has to be a change in attitude amongst those who are persistently involved in killing raptors.''

To tackle the illegal activity, a new Bill has been introduced to hold to account those who turn a blind eye to bird persecution. The Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, passed earlier this month at Holyrood holds to account those who allow poachers to kill birds of prey.