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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Birds of prey frequently attacked
Continued attacks on the UK's birds of prey are holding back the recovery of some species, according to the RSPB.

Over 1,000 birds - including hen harriers, golden eagles and red kites - have been poisoned, shot at or had their nests destroyed since 1995.

The majority of attacks were recorded in Scotland and England, with 494 and 454 incidents respectively.

Northumberland, Devon, Norfolk, North Yorkshire and Cumbria were the top five English hotspots.

NUMBERS OF BIRDS ATTACKED AT TOP 10 ENGLISH HOTSPOTS
Northumberland (41)
Devon (34)
Norfolk (30)
North Yorkshire (29)
Cumbria (29)
Derbyshire (24)
Lancashire (20)
Nottinghamshire (17)
Shropshire (16)
Merseyside (15)
Source: RSPB

There have been 1,113 confirmed attacks on UK birds of prey in the past decade, according to the RSPB's crime database

Wales saw 142 attacks and Northern Ireland recorded 23.

The release of the figures coincides with the launch of the National Wildlife Crime Unit near Edinburgh.

Based in North Berwick, it will tackle the illegal trade in endangered species and will try to prevent the persecution of rare birds and animals.

RSPB director of conservation Mark Avery said: "Persecution of birds of prey is holding back the recovery of special species.

"The hen harrier, golden eagle and red kite are all too frequently the victims of illegal persecution.

"We look forward to the creation of National Wildlife Crime Unit and hope that it is finally able to stamp out those crimes which were outlawed decades ago."




SEE ALSO
Wildlife crime Pc's work praised
07 Sep 06 |  England

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