Dead birds of prey were poisoned, say police

A buzzard. Archive picture.
A buzzard. Archive picture.

Two birds of prey found dead in the Glenarm area recently were poisoned, police have revealed.

Police raised concerns after a total of three birds were found dead in the Glenarm and Ballymena areas of County Antrim.

Tests showed that a buzzard discovered at a forest in the Glenarm area on March 15 died due to carbofuran poisoning, while another discovered on March 29 near Glenarm succumbed to alpha chloralose poisoning.

A peregrine falcon was also found dead at a quarry on the Glenhead Road in Ballymena on April 11 after suffering from carbofuran poisoning.

PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer Emma Meredith appealed for help to apprehend those responsible.

“Poisons can have serious implications and reports such as this give rise to serious concerns,” she stated.

“Poison generally is very dangerous and we would have particular concern over any poison but particularly over carbofuran.

“We are disappointed that this continues to happen especially with such a dangerous substance, which could kill not only birds of prey but also, a child, family pet or any adult coming into contact with it.

“We would remind the public if there is a suspicion on any bird of prey to leave the birds and/or bait in situ and call the PSNI as soon as possible.

“If anyone has information about the death of these protected birds then we would be really keen to hear from you.

“The person responsible needs to be identified before other wildlife, domestic pets, or even humans come to harm.”

In March, the PSNI launched Operation Raptor, which is designed to raise the profile of the killing of birds of prey and to highlight known “hot spot” areas to combat the crime.

The campaign is also designed to encourage members of the public to report incidents to the PSNI and to warn offenders they could face a custodial sentence and/or fine (up to £5,000) if they are caught targeting birds of prey through poisoning, shooting or trapping.

The scheme is run in partnership with the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute, Health and Safety Executive, National Wildlife Crime Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and Royal Society for Protection of Birds.

Anyone with information can contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.