The Irish Raptor Study Group and BirdWatch Ireland have reported the illegal poisoning of 23 buzzards in a single incident in Co Cork.
The following statement has been published by BirdWatch Ireland:
Mass poisoning of buzzards in County Cork
We have recently learned of the illegal poisoning of 23 Buzzards in County Cork. This incident is the single largest poisoning of birds of prey in this country in decades and the largest since the legislation was amended to ban the use of poison meat baits in 2010. We understand that the 23 Buzzards were recovered at the scene last December and were sent for testing under the Raptor Protocol, which subsequently confirmed that all had died due to ingesting the highly toxic and banned substance, Carbofuran.
[Photo via Irish Raptor Study Group]
The targeted use of bait laced with poison to kill protected birds of prey remains widespread and one of the most common substances used is Carbofuran, despite being banned. This incident follows the death of Mary, the satellite-tagged Hen Harrier, late last year, also illegally poisoned, also by Carbofuran (for more details see here and here).
These incidents, along with the countless other similar horrific poisonings of birds of prey, demonstrate that current efforts are simply not sufficient in stopping the persecution of our birds of prey. History dictates that incidents such as this mass poisoning will continue to occur unless appropriate action is taken. While we do not know who is responsible for this incident, we do know that the motives of those that persecute birds of prey are inherently flawed and display an ignorance and lack of understanding of our environment. Buzzards and other birds of prey are indicators of a healthy countryside and perform a vital role in the ecosystem, we cannot and should not tolerate the damaging actions of a minority to eradicate them from our countryside.
We understand that NPWS held an investigation, but that similar to the poisoning of Mary, those responsible were not held accountable. Why is more action not being taken to tackle Carbofuran and other illegal poisons, which are horrendously toxic and pose a serious threat to humans as well as to wildlife? Does an unwitting person trying to assist a stricken bird have to die before the State finally takes action?
We will be liaising with NPWS, we offer our support to them and urge a unified approach to tackling wildlife crimes. Unless proper resources are allocated, to include an established wildlife crime unit and greater powers and resources to investigate and enforce the legislation, incidents such as this one will continue without consequence. We will bring you more on this incident once we have further details.
UPDATE 10 May 2020: Local politician seeks ‘full investigation’ in to mass poisoning of buzzards (here)