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Buzzard lured by sheep carcass bait in Donegal 14.08.15

A total of 34 birds of prey were poisoned or shot across Ireland including Donegal last year, new figures show.
The report shows that the common buzzard was the most frequently targeted bird followed by the peregrine falcon and the sparrowhawk. Kestrels; white-tailed sea eagles, red kites and barn owls were also high on the hit list, according to the report from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
There were three confirmed reports in Donegal in 2014 including a buzzard which had been lured by sheep carcass bait in January; a poisoned domestic duck found as bait in a tree in May and a poisoned kestrel found in June.
The NPWS report notes that the number of recorded incidents is likely "only a fraction" of what is actually happening across the country.
The statistics are from the fourth annual report from the Recording and Addressing Persecution to our Raptors (RAPTOR) scheme.
The data was drawn from analysis of samples by the Department of Agriculture's regional veterinary laboratories and the State Laboratory.
It shows that of the 29 cases involving poisoning, 11 were lured by poisoned meat baits including pigeon and chicken. The report also notes that in 13 incidents, the poisoning of protected wild birds was most likely not intentional, occurring after a bird ingested prey such as rats that had ingested poison. Illegal persecution of birds can also include nest destruction or setting traps.
Meanwhile, there were five separate incidents where birds of prey were shot while a number of unconfirmed incidents were also noted.
Last year's figures were the highest since the RAPTOR monitoring scheme began in 2011. They represent a 100% increase on the 17 incidents noted in 2012.
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