The energy, time and commitment required to re-establish a species in an area it no longer populates is significant and almost never-ending. It is also an tremendous expression of optimism, a proactive declaration that we can undo decades if not centuries of absence and loss. Over recent decades various projects have focused on the re-establishment of raptor populations. Those projects are beginning to bear fruit though at times it seemed as if they might not succeed.
Many birds were, especially in Kerry, poisoned. Others starved to death because today's industrialised countryside could not sustain them. At one stage the toll was so relentless that donor nations questioned the wisdom of the projects. That wanton destruction, however, pales into insignificance when compared to the recently-uncovered poisoning of 22 buzzards in West Cork.
Buzzards are a protected species and these deaths, last December, are linked to the farm pesticide carbofuran. There are no circumstances that justify this ignorant, contemptuous behaviour and it must be hoped that, in time, a court has an opportunity to give meaning to that view. It may be time too to make it easier to withhold state subsidies from anyone convicted of these crimes.