300 of Ireland’s birds of prey poisoned or died ‘unnatural death’, report reveals

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300 birds of prey poisoned or died 'unnatural death' in Ireland, report reveals
PEREGRINE FALCONS: There were 400 recorded breeding pairs in Ireland in 2018. CREDIT: Wikipedia

300 of Ireland’s birds of prey poisoned or died ‘unnatural death’, report reveals.

THE study by the Raptor Protocol (Recording and Addressing Persecution and Threats to Our Raptors), spans 12 years and shows the vast majority of Ireland’s birds of prey killed by human attacks or other activity were poisoned.

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Just over 300 were found to have been poisoned or suffered some form of unnatural death between 2007 and 2019, reports The Irish Times.

The Raptor Protocol, a collaboration between the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Veterinary Laboratory Service and State Laboratory, was developed in 2011 following an EU pilot set up to formally investigate protocols in Ireland for death and wounding of birds of prey.


The study involved collecting carcasses and injured birds, carrying out X-rays, post mortems, DNA sampling, toxicology, follow-up investigations and data analysis.

In the 12 year period, a total of 338 incidents were recorded on the Raptor Protocol’s database, including 214 poisonings – accounting for 71.5 per cent of incidents – 58 shootings, a mutilation and a trapping.


In addition, the study found there were 57 deaths in road collisions, six involving wind turbines and three unclassified “traumatic deaths”.

“All regularly breeding native Irish raptor species were confirmed to have suffered some form of poisoning, persecution or other direct anthropogenic non-habitat related cause of injury or mortality,” the report found.

The objective of the Raptor Protocol is to build a database that will take into account species, modus operandi of harmful acts, and the timing and risk zones of such incidents.

“Continuing to record confirmed and possible events in a systematic fashion will build on the database and provide stronger background information to target illegal activity through enforcement and education,” added the report.

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