Northern Ireland

Birds of prey still being poisoned in Northern Ireland

Buzzard Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Buzzards were among the species affected

Protected birds of prey are still being being poisoned in Northern Ireland, according to a report.

The main species affected are buzzards and red kites, 11 of which were illegally killed in 2014.

They are particularly susceptible to poisoned baits as they mainly feed on carrion.

A sparrowhawk and two peregrine falcons were also killed. County Down had the biggest problem with four incidents and there were two in Tyrone.

There was one incident each in Londonderry, Antrim and Armagh.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Red Kites have also been targeted, according to the report

A number of cases involved the use of a highly toxic pesticide called Carbofuran which was banned across the EU in 2001.

The report was drawn up by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, which involves agencies including police, the Environment Agency and wildlife groups.

Report author Dr Eimear Rooney said: "It is heart-breaking to think of the deaths of these birds, but it is particularly shocking to see the continued usage of highly toxic Carbofuran."

'Children at risk'

Supt Brian Kee said: "It isn't acceptable for birds of prey or any other wildlife to be killed in this way.

"These actions are illegal and the use of toxic poisons is indiscriminate as they put children, pets and livestock at risk too.

Between 2009 and 2014, 44 birds of prey were illegally killed and one nest destroyed.

In some cases it appears birds are falling victim to poisons laid to control rats and other pests.

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