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Topography of slaughter: raptor persecution map published

This news post is almost 6 years old

The majority of incidents occur in upland areas such as the Scottish borders and Aberdeenshire, often on grouse shooting estates

The scale of bird of prey slaughter across the UK has come into focus with the publication of a new persecution map.

It pinpoints all the areas where the country’s raptors have been illegally killed, by, gun, trap, poison or other means.

The map covers a five-year timespan from 20120-2016, with data and incidents added every year.

Two interactive maps have been produced, one of which can be filtered by year and incident type, while the other provides an overview of confirmed incidents, with black and red squares depicting areas with the highest density of known persecution.

For 2012-2016, the majority of red and black squares occur in upland areas such as the Scottish borders and Aberdeenshire.

They are often associated with the presence of grouse-shooting estates.

Helen Mason, RSPB investigations intelligence manager, said: "Until now, there has been no complete, centralised set of UK mapped raptor persecution data available, beyond the RSPB's Birdcrime report which provides an annual snapshot.

“Putting all the UK raptor persecution incident data together in an easy-to-view map is something we feel has been needed for some time, to more accurately show the extent and scale of the problem year on year."

The illegal persecution of birds of prey is a widespread and persistent problem in Britain and continues to affect multiple species, including hen harrier, golden eagle and goshawk.

Every week the RSPB's Investigations team receives calls about a raptor being either shot, trapped or poisoned. However, they believe that the majority of raptor crimes go undetected and unreported.

Mason added: "The maps are designed to be used by everyone, from our law enforcement partners to members of the public. Currently this only covers a five-year period, so the blackspot areas may change.

“But over time The Map Hub will evolve and be added to each year, to provide the most complete picture of raptor persecution across the UK. We hope this will help raise awareness and improve the detection and prevention of this type of crime, which is a National Wildlife Crime Priority."