· 41 wild bird crime incidents reported in Wales during 2015, says Birdcrime 2015.
· Slight increase on the 38 incidents reported in Birdcrime 2014.
· One incident resulted in a prosecution.
A new report published today shows that illegal persecution of wild birds is a continuing issue in Wales, and RSPB Cymru is asking for more focus to be given to protecting Welsh wildlife in keeping with our new legislation; the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 which commits to leaving a better quality environment for future generations.
The RSPB's Birdcrime 2015 ² report showed a total of 41 incidents of wild bird crime were reported in Wales in 2015. There were 36 reported incidents of bird of prey persecutions - which include shootings, trappings and poisonings.
RSPB Cymru's Biodiversity Manager, Stephen Bladwell, said: "Wales' wild bird crime incidents remain significantly lower compared to the rest of the UK, with there being 41 reported incidents, which stand at just under 8% of the UK total. But one death is one too many. However, we'd like to praise the work our law enforcement officers put in across Wales, which include the Police Rural Crime Teams who continue to work vigorously with statutory agencies, Non-Government Organisations and the public to stop wild bird persecution."
Despite 36 reported incidents involving birds of prey, only one was marked as a confirmed case. This raises the distinct possibility that some cases might be going unreported, undetected and therefore unpunished. However across the UK, the RSPB's Birdcrime 2015 report revealed 196 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey including the confirmed shooting of 16 buzzards, 11 peregrines, 3 red kites, 1 red-footed falcon and 1 hen harrier. Of the total 92 confirmed persecution incidents, 61% occurred in England, 29% in Scotland, 9% in Northern Ireland and 1% in Wales.
Stephen Bladwell continued: "Our incredible birds of prey still require more protection, in particular when referring to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. If we are committed to leaving a better quality of environment and life for future generations, we must attach more focus to protecting our beautifully diverse wildlife in all its forms. Evidence continues to suggest that threatened birds of prey, such as the red kite and peregrine falcon, require more protection from illegal persecution. Therefore, we call on them to be given this."
In Wales, there were 32 reports of wildlife poisoning, of which one was confirmed. Poisoned baits being laid in the countryside, whether they unlawfully target wild birds or other persecuted animals, is also a major threat to our domestic pets that results in tragic stories each year.
Stephen Bladwell concluded: "Despite raptor persecution being identified as one of the UK government's top wildlife crime priorities in 2009, the persecution of birds of prey still remains an issue of serious concern with around 590 birds of prey having been confirmed poisoned, shot, trapped or destroyed in the last six years. With the UK set to leave the European Union, a commitment from Welsh Government to ensure Wales' new legislation works to protect and enhance populations of all wildlife including birds of prey is essential. This will then help ensure our future generations enjoy a thriving and diverse natural environment."
1. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. www.rspb.org.uk
2. Birdcrime is a unique publication. It is the only centralized source of incident data for wild bird crime in the UK. The RSPB does not record all categories of wild bird crime. Instead we focus on recording crimes that affect the conservation status of species, such as bird of prey persecution and threats to rare breeding birds.
3. Reporting a wildlife crime: Crimes against wildlife should be reported to the local police via the 101 number. Crimes against wild birds can also be reported to the RSPB online or by calling the RSPB. If you have any sensitive information about the illegal killing of birds of prey, please report it by calling the RSPB's confidential hotline on 0845 466 3636. Calls to this number are not recorded and will be treated in the strictest confidence.