RSPB Scotland records a decrease in poisoning of birds

hen harrier A hen harrier and two golden eagles were shot last year

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RSPB Scotland has recorded a fall in the number of birds confirmed as being illegally poisoned.

A golden eagle, a raven and two buzzards were found to have been killed in this way during 2012.

In its annual report on the persecution of birds, the conservation charity recorded a total of seven incidents involving illegally-poisoned baits.

Two cats were killed by bait the RSPB said could have killed birds. Rabbits left as poisoned bait were also found.

There were 17 poisoning incidents detected in 2011.

The new report also records a total of 13 persecution incidents, which involved either killing or targeting birds of prey, during 2012.

The cases include the shooting of two golden eagles and a hen harrier. Two buzzards and a peregrine were caught in illegally-set traps.

Stuart Housden, RSPB Scotland director, said the decrease in recorded incidents was welcome.

He said the Scottish government's effort to tackle persecution was a factor in bringing down the number of cases.

'Committed to eradication'

However, Mr Housden added work remained to be done to tackle the problem and the crimes had "no place in 21st Century Scotland".

Douglas McAdam, chief executive of Scottish Land and Estates, said the progress being made in tackling wildlife crime reflected the efforts of a wide range of organisations.

He said: "Our members abhor wildlife crime and condemn it out of hand.

"We are fully committed to its eradication.

"There is absolutely no cause for complacency and the most important thing is that all those involved in land management continue to work together to eradicate wildlife crime."

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