September 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm #409MikeKeymaster
`This is the largest number of dead birds I have seen in a single
…Wildlife police officer Mark Rafferty.
BORDERS police are probing the deaths of 25 protected birds on an
estate in Peeblesshire.
A search of the sporting estate led RSPB Scotland, Lothian and
Borders Police, and Scottish Executive Environment Rural Affairs
Department (SEERAD) officers to discover the birds.
In a combined search earlier this week, the bodies of 22 buzzards, a
tawny owl, a heron, and a goshawk were discovered on the estate
The bodies have been sent away to the Scottish Agricultural Science
Agency in Edinburgh for post mortem.
The name of the estate has not been disclosed at the present time.
“I was very saddened to see 25 dead birds of prey, beautiful birds,”
said Lothian and Borders Police wildlife police officer, Mark
The agencies were working jointly on information provided by a member
of the public, who was said to have been alerted by the publicity
surrounding the recent discovery of nine dead birds of prey on a
different Borders estate.
“In my 20 years, this is the largest number of dead birds I have seen
in a single case,” said RSPB Scotland’s Dave Dick.
Constable Rafferty added: “As I visit land managers over the next few
weeks in connection with Operation Artemis and hen harrier
protection, I will be stressing that everyone in rural Scotland must
now play a part in the fight in protecting wildlife”.
Earlier this month, Operation Artemis was launched by police forces
across the UK to improve the detection and prevention of the
persecution of hen har-riers on Britain’s moorlands.
Buzzards are particularly susceptible to poisoning as carrion forms a
large part of their diet (which also includes rabbits, rodents and
other farm pests).
After years of suffering from the effects of DDT and persecution,
buzzard numbers have made a good recovery since the 1970s.
“Their increase in numbers has been welcomed by the public, and they
are now seen regularly in the skies,” said Mr Dick.
“It is essential that the public report any such findings or
suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.”
In 2003, 10 red kites were confirmed as being allegedly illegally
poisoned in Scotland, the highest number recorded in one year. Like
buzzards, red kites largely eat carrion.
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