Azara Blog: UK birds of prey

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Date published: 2005/02/04

The BBC says:

Birds of prey being re-introduced to areas of the UK are under threat because they are being illegally killed, experts are warning.

Breeds such as the red kite and hen harrier are being targeted, especially in areas managed as grouse moors, says the UK Raptor Working Group.

The group was established in 1995 to advise ministers over the issue.

Professor Colin Galbraith of the UK Raptor group said the persecution of raptors was a "disgrace".

Birds of prey have always been unpopular among gamekeepers and pigeon fanciers because they prey on red grouse in the uplands, racing pigeons, and pheasants prior to their release in the lowlands.

But over the last five years, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the country conservation agencies have been helping to implement the Working Group's recommendations, the UK Raptor Working Group says.

These included the launch by the police in 2004 of Operation Artemis, to target those responsible for the continuing illegal persecution of threatened hen harriers and a decline in the levels of illegal persecution in some areas of lowland Britain, leading to the return of buzzards to areas where this bird has previously been eliminated.

But, it said, the illegal persecution of birds of prey continues in many areas. Published research has shown that this is especially prevalent in areas managed as grouse moors.

Well perhaps there would be less of a problem if the people affected by the release were properly compensated for their financial loss. Lack of compensation amounts to state theft and is also a "disgrace".

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