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Bird of prey killings claim called into question

By Nick Humphreys | Mid Wales | News | Published:

Claims that the number of birds of prey being killed in Mid Wales have been questioned, and a bird protection charity accused of "political attacks".

A red kite was found shot dead near Lake Vyrnwy

It comes after wildlife presenter Iolo Williams found a red kite that had been shot dead near Lake Vyrnwy in Powys.

The RSPB claimed its investigations unit had been "overrun" with incidents of bird of prey being killed in various methods, prompting a police boss to say he was "sickened" by the trend.

But the Moorland Association says that doesn't line up with reports from its members.

Amanda Anderson, director of the Moorland Association, said: “Reports we have from our members in the uplands have suggested that many birds of prey are in fact benefiting from the lock-down restrictions and the subsequent reduction in disturbance from members of the public. Estates across the country have reported a number of raptors including peregrine, merlin and hen harriers nesting and living on those landscapes.

“We condemn any illegal activity and Moorland Association members have signed up to a cross-sector zero tolerance approach to wildlife crime. Estates and gamekeepers have been the eyes and ears on the ground during lockdown, reporting suspicious activity. They are also actively working with police authorities in Operation Owl – an initiative to raise awareness of raptor persecution. We always encourage reporting of any suspicious incident.”

A British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) spokesperson added: “BASC condemns any illegal activity. Those who believe that they are above the law are not welcome in our community. Thinly veiled political attacks on shooting are also unwelcome.

“Raptor numbers overall are increasing, and with particular success stories such as buzzards and red kites, this is welcomed by conservationists and shooters alike."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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