Last week we blogged about the growing concern of suspected red kite poisonings in Northern Ireland, following the discovery of a fourth dead bird in County Down this year (see here). Incredibly, conservationists had not been able to confirm the poisonings as they were still waiting for toxicology results from the lab – from as far back as January!
This week brings news of a 5th dead kite, this time found in the Cairncastle area of County Antrim and also suspected to have been poisoned. It was found by walkers on Sunday 18th August.
This bird (Yellow 1D) was born in May this year and was the offspring of one of the poisoned adults found in County Down.
The RSPB and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are appealing for information. Adam McClure, the RSPB’s Red Kite Officer in Northern Ireland said: “While we can’t say for certain until we have the results of the post-mortem, we strongly suspect that this bird, and potentially some of the others, has fallen victim to poisoning. All birds of prey are protected under the law, but unfortunately this doesn’t mean they are safe from poison. In some cases they are deliberately targeted as some people incorrectly see them as a threat to livestock or game birds. They are also vulnerable to poisoned bait left out with the intention of controlling foxes and crows. However, this is an illegal practice as it is indiscriminate and can affect not only scavenging birds like red kites but also pets, livestock and humans“.
Anyone with information about these suspected poisonings is urged to call PSNI: 0845 600 8000 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously: 0800 555 111.