Wildlife crime remains an issue in Wales

Danny Wyn Griffith

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Buzzard in flight

Wales rank second in 2016 UK raptor persecution table. Powys joint second highest UK county for raptor persecution since 2012. No incidents throughout Wales & UK resulted in prosecution, shows Birdcrime 2016

I ddarllen y datganiad yng Nghymraeg, cliciwch yma os gwelwch yn dda

A newly published report showed that illegal persecution of wild birds continues to be an issue in Wales. The latest Birdcrime report revealed 41 reported incidents of persecution in 2016. No case throughout Wales and the UK resulted in a single person prosecuted.

RSPB Cymru is calling for more focus to be given to protecting Welsh wildlife in keeping with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which commits to leaving a better quality environment for future generations. Without urgent action some of Wales’ wild birds face a bleak future.

Out of the 41 incidents there were 13 confirmed incidents of bird of prey persecutions – which include shootings, trappings and poisonings, involving buzzards, peregrine falcons and red kites.

RSPB Cymru Biodiversity Manager, Stephen Bladwell, said: “Despite wild bird crime incidents in Wales remaining lower compared to the rest of the UK, we must emphasise that one death is too many. The fact that wild bird crime remains an issue in Wales is a worrying fact. Bird persecution in Wales doesn’t seem to be going away.” 

Despite there being 41 reported incidents of wild bird crime, none led to any convictions. With many incidents going undetected, unreported and therefore unpunished, the figure may be much higher in reality.

Stephen Bladwell continued: “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. However, it does seem as though more will be needed from everyone involved to stop the persecution of our wild birds in the future.”

Wales ranked second highest across the UK, behind England alone, for raptor persecution. Of the total 81 confirmed raptor persecution incidents in 2016, 53 occurred in England (65%), 13 in Wales (16%), nine in Scotland (11%) and six in Northern Ireland (7%). This shows a marked increase on Wales’ total share of 1% as shown in Birdcrime 2015.

The report also revealed Powys was joint second highest UK county for raptor persecution from 2012-16. Over the five year period the county recorded 22 confirmed incidents against raptors, whilst having 12 wild bird crime incidents during 2016 alone. Across the UK, the report revealed 40 shootings, 22 poisonings, 15 trappings and four other incidents of illegal persecution of raptors.

Stephen Bladwell concluded: “It is incredibly disappointing to see that raptor persecution in Wales is on the rise. Our incredible birds of prey require more protection. 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. That Wales now ranks second highest in the UK for raptor persecution, and Powys joint second highest county throughout the UK over a five year period, is a worrying development. The figures are disheartening and shows that wild bird crime remains a real issue in the country.”

For the full copy of Birdcrime 2016 report visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdcrime

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

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