Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Petition calls for action on illegal bird killing

Campaigners at the Scottish Parliament
Supports of the campaign formed a giant mosiac of a peregrine falcon

A demand for tougher action on the illegal killing of birds of prey has been delivered to MSPs.

More than 21,500 people have signed the petition which was presented by RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden.

The document urges the Scottish Parliament to give wildlife crimes greater priority and for more resources to go towards tackling the problem.

It says the economic benefits birds of prey bring to Scotland must also be given wider recognition.

The petition, handed to Frank McAveety, convener of Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee, urged MSPs to do more to end the illegal killing of birds of prey by implementing the recommendations made in the recent Thematic Review of Wildlife Crime.

Figures suggests that in the past decade 300 protected birds of prey have been illegally poisoned
Stuart Housden
Director RSPB Scotland

Mr Housden, who represents more then 86,000 RSPB members, said the huge response to the petition showed that many people were appalled that birds of prey continue to be illegally killed in the countryside.

He added: "Birds of prey numbers are slowly recovering, after illegal killing saw them pushed to the brink of local extinction.

"Yet despite this strong support figures suggest that in the past decade (prior to 2009) 300 protected birds of prey have been illegally poisoned, while over 100 others were confirmed victims of illegal shooting, trapping or nest destruction."

As the petition was handed in, supporters formed a giant mosaic of a peregrine falcon, the world's fastest bird, to show their backing for the campaign.

The RSPB said birds such as the magnificent white-tailed sea eagle had already been wiped out in Scotland once before.

Mr Housden added: "Concerted efforts to bring these back are making a difference but we must ensure these reintroduction projects are not in vain and that all birds of prey are free from the threat of these crimes."

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