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Updated: Jan 10

For decades birds of prey have been under the protection of European law, but deliberate or unintentional killing is still a large-scale problem in Europe. In an effort to monitor illegal practices, the Flemish government established several bird of prey hotlines in 2006. Since then, every suspicious death of a bird of prey has been investigated. This retrospective study reviews the necropsy results of every bird of prey submitted for investigation from January 2011 to December 2019, with a focus on illegal practices. In 36.7% (83/226) of all necropsy cases, an illegal cause of death was found, with poisoning being demonstrated in 88% (73/83) of these cases. Cholinesterase inhibitors were the most commonly used toxins, despite being prohibited in Europe. With a prevalence of 82.5% (260/315) of all cases, the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) was the species most submitted for necropsy.

Read the full publication here.

(c) Leo Janssen

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