Buzzards ‘poisoned’ in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 June 2013

Archant

Police are investigating the suspected use of poison in Sidmouth that left two birds of prey dead – and could put young lives at risk.

The buzzards were found in a water trough near a public footpath on Sunday.

An animal protection charity has condemned any attempts to control the protected species, the numbers of which have soared in recent years.

A spokesman from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said: “Banned substances are often used which are highly toxic – a few granules would be enough to kill a bird of prey, a dog, even a child.

“Poisons are indiscriminate.

“Wildlife crime is pretty much all around us.”

He said the use of poisoned baits, such as pheasant carcasses, had further-reaching consequences in an area popular with families and dog walkers.

In some circumstances, Natural England offers licences to control population sizes by destroying nests by ‘hand or firearm’, but there is no such permission for using poison.

The RSPB spokesman said Devon had been the ‘engine’ for the recovery of the species, but the county also had a high rate of reporting similar incidents.

The buzzards were found between the Donkey Sanctuary and Salcombe Regis.

● Anyone with any information is asked to contact the police on their non-emergency number, 101, quoting reference KS/13/256.

Natural England will investigate the case.


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