Today the RSPB has released further data revealing more clearly than ever where the raptor persecution blackspots in the UK occur.
Map 2, showing raptor persecution blackspots
Readers of this blog will know that birds of prey (raptors) are sadly routinely being illegally shot, trapped and poisoned, and that often this is associated with driven grouse shooting.
The Raptor Persecution Map Hub, which was launched in 2018, now and for the first time has a full 12 years’ worth of confirmed raptor persecution incidents available for you to view and interact with. Thanks to the Intel team within the Investigations Unit, an extra block of historic data has been added to the existing incidents already available in the hub, backdating this to 2007, so giving you a bigger and better picture of known raptor persecution incidents in the UK over time. Are there any near you?
Take a look at the Map Hub here…
The key for Map 2 is as follows: yellow (1 incident), orange (2-3), red (4-5), black (6-13).
It’s always hard to draw patterns from data like this in isolation, as numbers can fluctuate because of varying detection rates. Many more incidents take place unseen - population studies confirm this - so while our data doesn’t show absolute trends in raptor persecution as such, it confirms these crimes are a continued presence in our countryside.
Below are some of the headline figures and findings from this dataset (NOTE: the full dataset figures vary slightly from those mapped in the hub, as 17 incidents could not be mapped).
During the 12 years 2007-2018:
Bird species involved -
NOTE: Incident and victim numbers are different. There may be one incident that involves several birds, likewise there may be confirmed incidents where no victim was found.
Persecution methods -
Helen Mason, Investigations Intelligence Manager for the RSPB, says:
“The data is very telling as each coloured square hints at the ongoing extent of raptor persecution across the UK – and this is just scratching the surface as so many incidents go undetected and unreported.
"It’s clear that very few areas of the UK are unaffected. It is also clear that the highest concentration of these incidents tend to occur where the land is managed for intensive driven grouse shooting. The RSPB has long been calling for tougher regulation for driven grouse shooting, in the form of a system of licensing. This data underpins the need for urgent changes which MUST be made to protect our magnificent birds of prey, and put an end to this appalling slaughter once and for all.”
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