Recorded incidents of bird of prey poisonings at a record low in Scotland
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Recorded incidents of bird of prey poisonings are at a record low in Scotland according to the latest figures.
However, despite the drop in recorded incidents, data from satellite tagged raptors continues to show birds disappearing in unexplained circumstances, with persecution strongly suspected in many cases.
There was only one recorded incident of illegal bird of prey poisoning in Scotland in 2017, according to new maps published by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, which is made up of the police, land managers, conservationists and government agencies.
This is the lowest total in a single year since PAW Scotland began compiling data in 2004.
Overall, there was a 36 per cent fall in all recorded bird of prey crimes during 2017, with figures showing nine confirmed crimes compared to 14 the previous year.
Species illegally killed in 2017 incidents included buzzards, owls, and a hen harrier, while the golden eagle, osprey and merlin were victims of disturbance cases.
In addition to the poisoning incident, there were two shootings, two illegal trappings and three cases of disturbance.
Specific details of one of the bird of prey crimes are currently withheld for police operational reasons and are therefore not shown on hotspot maps, but it is included in the figures.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “While I welcome this further reduction in recorded bird of prey crimes, including our lowest ever total for poisoning incidents, reports from early 2018 indicate that this remains a problem in some parts of Scotland.
“It is extremely frustrating that some criminals continue to undermine the good work that has been done by conservationists and land managers in recent years, with much of that work being done through the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW Scotland).
“We have recently provided additional resources to Police Scotland for the detection and investigation of wildlife crime, and set up a review group to look at grouse moor management, including the potential for licensing this type of business.”