In December 2019, a total of 23 buzzards were reported to have been illegally poisoned with the banned pesticide Carbofuran in a single incident in Co. Cork, Ireland.
This news wasn’t made public until May 2020 when the Irish Raptor Study Group partnered with Birdwatch Ireland to issue a joint statement criticising the lack of enforcement measures to deal with the continued illegal persecution of birds of prey (see here).
This shocking mass poisoning crime prompted calls in the Irish parliament for an investigation (see here) and calls for the establishment of a special police unit to focus on tackling wildlife crime (here).
Later in the year a local animal welfare charity ‘The Amica Projects’ put up a reward of 5,000 Euros for information about who was responsible for poisoning the buzzards and it placed a full page advert in the Southern Star newspaper appealing for whistle blowers to get in touch (see here).
Now six months on, an article by journalist Kieran O’Mahony published in the Southern Star yesterday says that The Amica Projects has now confirmed it has paid the 5K Euros reward for a tip-off that it had received.
From the article:
“We are delighted to report that a number of people came forward with information about this and actually some other cases too,’ said a spokesperson.
Some of these reports were highly specific and highly credible and we’ve passed the most useful and relevant to the gardaí [the police] and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, who are responsible for prosecutions of this type“.
According to The Amica Projects – which was founded in 2019 and addresses animal welfare problems in Ireland – both entities shared the view that the information was credible and actionable.
“This was a senseless attack on the buzzards, which are fully protected in Ireland under the EU Birds Directive, and under the National Wildlife Act of 1976. What’s more, the poison carbofuran has been banned in Ireland for over a decade and even the possession of the poison is an offence.”
The charity also said that it is entirely prepared to repeat the reward initiative should the need arise.
“This should serve as notice to bird-poisoners that they are being observed, and that most of the general public finds their actions abhorrent. No poisoner is safe and the penalties are significant“.