Birds of prey killed and abused in Derbyshire
The RSPB is demanding action after a shock report found 16 birds of prey were killed or abused in Derbyshire last year.
The charity is now calling for better application of the laws that protect raptors, after the Birdcrime 2014 report found illegal persecution is rife.
Confirmed incidents in Derbyshire included a shot buzzard, a shot sparrowhawk and an illegally trapped goshawk.
Nationally, the RSPB received 179 reports of shooting and destruction of birds of prey, including the confirmed shooting of 34 buzzards, nine peregrines, three red kites and a hen harrier.
The report also documents 72 reported incidents of wildlife poisoning and pesticide-related offences.
Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: “The problem of illegal persecution has tarnished the UK for decades and continues to do so.
“Strong action is needed now to deliver the effective protection that our birds of prey so urgently need.”
He added: “To protect our magnificent birds of prey we must defend the laws that protect them, including EU Nature Directives.
“When applied properly, these laws can help protect our most valuable wildlife and sites.”
Martin Harper concluded: “There is no place in any society for the unjustified and illegal activity that robs many people of the chance to see these beautiful birds flourish. We applaud the efforts of law enforcement officers across the UK who work with statutory agencies, NGOs and the public to prevent, investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes. However to support this effort, more effective sanctions and penalties are needed that represent a meaningful deterrent to ensure that no one can profit from wildlife crimes.”
The RSPB supports the licensing of driven grouse moors and the introduction of vicarious liability as these measures could address improve enforcement through providing more effective deterrents, which would ensure that no one can profit from wildlife crime.