A disturbing story from the website Focusing On Wildlife…
Bird experts believe that one of the UK’s most valued bird of prey colonies is being targeted after 16 raptors were found dead from poisoning in a small area of the Highlands. The bodies of 12 red kites and four buzzards have been recovered over the past two weeks within a two-square-mile area on the Black Isle, north of Inverness, in what ornithologists suspect is the largest mass poisoning of birds recorded.
It is already the largest number of red kites killed in a single cluster in the UK in modern times, and the largest number of raptors suspected of being poisoned in the same area in Scotland, after decades of systematic persecution by gamekeepers and farmers.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) announced it was doubling its reward for a successful prosecution in the case to £10,000.
The attacks appear to be deliberately targeting the core breeding area, which has been one of the two main reintroduction sites for the species in the UK along with the Chilterns, west of London, for the past 25 years. It is a significant setback to a successful campaign led by Scottish government ministers to combat bird of prey persecution, which is illegal under wildlife conservation laws: after a record number of incidents five years ago, the number of poisoning incidents fell to three in 2012, and then six last year.
The RSPB is certain the bird’s numbers are being suppressed by deliberate persecution by grouse shooting estates, or as a result of attacks by gamekeepers on birds of prey generally. One recent study found that between 1999 and 2006, an estimated 166 red kites from the Black Isle were poisoned.
The full story is here.