Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 10:31 UK

Wildlife crime 'needs tackling'

Sea eagle
Sea eagles and other birds have been found poisoned

Landowners and gamekeepers who kill Scotland's rare birds of prey to protect their livestock should be "named and shamed", an MSP has said.

Scottish Labour's Sarah Boyack said taking steps to reduce incidents of wild raptors being shot and poisoned was "a matter of urgency".

Deliberate killing of rare birds is at "unacceptably high" levels, according to an RSPB report published last month.

Ms Boyack said the Scottish Government must act against wildlife crime.

A year-long study into wildlife crimes by the RSPB found 28 cases in which pesticides were used to illegally kill or threaten birds such as sea eagles, buzzards, red kites and hen harriers in 2008.

Another four cases involved the discovery of pesticides suspected to be used for illegal purposes, and 42 poisoned baits, also illegal, were found in the Scottish countryside.

The killings were concentrated on the east coast, where much of the land is given over to grouse and pheasant rearing.

Ms Boyack, Labour's rural affairs spokeswoman, said "unscrupulous" Scottish estates should be publicly named to try to reduce the number of birds of prey being illegally killed.

"Authorities need to take action against unscrupulous estates in Scotland where bird killings have taken place," she said.

"We want to see thorough investigations where there have been a higher number of incidents. If foul play is involved then these estates should be named and shamed to publicly condemn their actions."

She added: "The Scottish Government needs to take more robust action on wildlife crime."

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