14 May 2020
By Elaine Murphy
22 buzzards were poisoned in West Cork in late 2019, a fact which has only just come to light
Social Democrats TD and Spokesperson on Climate and Biodiversity, Jennifer Whitmore, has backed calls by Birdwatch Ireland and other environmental groups for the establishment of a Wildlife Crime Unit – something the Social Democrats themselves had proposed in their February 2020 General Election Manifesto. The call comes in the wake of the poisoning of 22 buzzards in West Cork in late 2019 and which has only just come to light. It is suspected the birds, which are a protected species under the National Wildlife Act 1976, were poisoned by the use of a banned root crop pesticide, Carbofuran in the area.
Jennifer Whitmore TD said:
“The needless death of any animal is a tragedy but particularly so when it was entirely avoidable. Such pesticides are banned for a good reason but there must be significant deterrents and penalties for those who choose to flout such rules. It has taken years of hard work by environmental and bird organisations to get to the point where populations of birds of prey, such as buzzards, have been re-established and it is simply unacceptable that these birds can be wiped out overnight by the illegal actions of a few individuals.
“In general, we are going to have to become a lot more rigorous in how we, as a country, deal with such issues – whether it be incidents such as this, the destruction of habitats and wetlands, or other crimes against wildlife. It is only through a dedicated, properly resourced crime unit within An Garda Siochana working hand in hand with experts on the ground such as the National Parks and Wildlife service, will we begin to see any real accountability with such crimes. We are in teh middle of a biodviersity crisis and our first priority must be to protect the biodiversity that we currently have.
“It is also important to note that aside from the devastating impact this had had on the bird population, the poison used in this case is obviously extremely toxic and represents a wider threat to other animals, pets and indeed, people in the area.”