The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) recently published its 2017 R.A.P.T.O.R. report, ‘Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to Our Raptors’.
This is the seventh annual report from the RAPTOR scheme detailing direct threats and pressures (other than habitat related threats and pressures) facing birds of prey in Ireland. A key objective of the RAPTOR scheme is to provide a platform for informed, targeted and effective approaches in addressing these threats and pressures.
Poisoning (whether intentional or not) and persecution (always illegal) are of particular concern. Poisoning of any wildlife (other than rats or mice) is recorded, because in the vast majority of cases raptors could have ingested the same poison, or fed on prey that had itself been poisoned.
In 2017, a total of 23 incidents were confirmed in Ireland. These incidents were comprised of 16 poison incidents, 6 incidents where birds of prey were shot and one incident involving collision with a wind turbine. A number of suspected and unconfirmed incidents were also recorded. Such incidents are held on the NPWS RAPTOR database. Such cases are as informative and important as confirmed cases in providing data on threats to our raptors. Other cases were submitted under the RAPTOR protocol but found to be negative, inconclusive or involving birds of prey that died from natural causes.
Of the raptors species confirmed to have died as a result of direct human impact in 2017, the most frequent casualty was Common Buzzard (11), followed by, Red Kite (3), Kestrel (1), and White-tailed Sea Eagle (1).
A full copy of the report is available for download here