A total of 34 birds of prey were shot or poisoned across Ireland last year. The figure is the highest number in four years, a new report reveals.
It shows that the common buzzard was the most frequent casualty followed by the peregrine falcon and the sparrowhawk.
Kestrels, white-tailed sea eagles, red kites and barn owls were also high on the hit list, according to the report from the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The service noted the number of confirmed incidents is likely to be “only a fraction” of the actual number. The statistics are from the fourth annual report of the Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to our Raptors scheme using samples analysed by the Department of Agriculture’s regional veterinary laboratories and the State laboratory.
It shows of the 29 cases involving poisoning, 11 were lured by poisoned meat baits including pigeon, chicken and in one case a sheep carcass.
The report also notes that in 13 incidents, poisoning was most likely not intentional, having occurred after birds ingested prey such as rats that had been poisoned.
Meanwhile, there were five shootings of birds of prey last year including the high-profile killing of one of the first two white-tailed sea eagle chicks to be born in Ireland in 110 years.
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