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'"Any incident of illegal poisoning of birds of prey is one too many'

The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill 2011 was brought in to deal with landowners and managers who turn a blind eye to employees committing offences against wild birds on their land.

It came into force on January 1st last year and sentences can include fines and imprisonment.

"Any incident of illegal poisoning of birds of prey is one too many, however these latest figures represent the most substantial progress on this issue for many years.

"We are encouraged that these reported and confirmed incidents of illegal poisoning indicate a further decline in cases, building on progress in the figures for the previous two years.

"Both RSPB Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates are not complacent about this issue, however, and there will be no let-up in our joint efforts to eradicate illegal poisoning, and all other forms of wildlife crime."

– Douglas McAdam, Chief Executive, Scottish Land & Estates

Anyone who finds a dead bird of prey, and suspects it may have been poisoned, is asked to contact police.

Latest figures welcomed by environment minister

"I very much welcome the significant reduction in the number of birds of prey poisoned, which I hope signals the real change in attitude that is required to end this outdated and cruel practice.

"2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and our birds of prey are both a vital part of the natural environment and a stunning spectacle which attract visitors to our countryside from home and abroad.

"It is our duty to protect them."

– Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Scotland's Environment Minister

Significant fall in birds of prey poisonings

Golden Eagle Credit: PA

Scotland's Environment Minister has welcomed news that the number of birds of prey poisoned in Scotland last year fell 'significantly'.

Three birds - two buzzards and a golden eagle - were poisoned illegally in 2012, that figure is down from 16 incidents the previous year.

One of the buzzards was found in Dumfries and Galloway.

The precise location is not given as some birds may be able to continue to fly before being struck down by the poison.