Home > Environment, News of the moment > RSPB voices shock at buzzard plans in UK.

RSPB voices shock at buzzard plans in UK.

24th May 2012 By Emily Beament

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Conservationists in the UK have condemned plans that would allow buzzard nests to be destroyed and the birds of prey taken into captivity to protect pheasant shoots.

The Environment Department (Defra) is to spend up to £375,000 researching ways to keep buzzards from targeting captive-reared pheasants.

Proposed methods include destroying nests to prevent birds breeding, catching and relocating buzzards to places such as falconry centres or providing alternative food sources for the predators.

The ( Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) RSPB said the idea of taking wild buzzards into captivity or destroying their nests was “totally unacceptable”, and criticised Defra for spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the project when money was tight for conservation measures.

In a document setting out plans for the research project, Defra said the 2011 National Gamekeepers Organisation survey found that three quarters of gamekeepers (76%) believed buzzards had a harmful effect on pheasant shoots.

Buzzards are thought to target pheasant release pens if they find there is a readily available source of food and the Government’s conservation agency Natural England has received a number of requests to license the killing of the bird of prey, which is a protected species.

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