1. ITV Report

Report reveals continued persecution of birds of prey

Two red kites in a sanctuary Credit: PA

The RSPB says without urgent action, some of UK’s birds of prey face a bleak future

Its latest Birdcrime report revealed 81 confirmed incidents of illegal raptor persecution in 2016, without a single person prosecuted.

Birdcrime 2016 - the only report summarising offences against birds of prey in the UK - revealed 40 shooting, 22 poisoning, 15 trapping and four other incidents of illegal persecution against raptors.

Among the victims were hen harriers, peregrine falcons, red kites and buzzards.

A red kite in flight Credit: PA

However, evidence suggests these figures are just the tip of the iceberg with many illegal killings going undetected or unreported.

The report revealed that close to two-thirds (53) of the confirmed incidents took place in England.

In the North East confirmed incidents included a shot hen harrier and the persecution of a peregrine in Northumberland, and shot red kite in County Durham.

Birds of prey bring our skies to life. There is nothing like seeing a diving peregrine or a skydancing hen harrier.

The sights of these spectacular birds are something we should all be able to enjoy, unfortunately illegal activity is robbing us of this and preventing them from flourishing.

There are laws in place to protect these birds but they are clearly not being put into action.

We need governments across the UK to do more to tackle the illegal killing to protect our raptors for future generations to enjoy."

– Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director