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Legal / Regulatory

October 28, 2020 - Irish Times

IRELAND: Poaching of wild songbirds so lucrative criminals are monitoring nests

IRELAND: Poaching of wild songbirds so lucrative criminals are monitoring nests
Bullfinch, one of many songbirds© Photabulous!

The poaching of wild songbirds has become so lucrative that criminals are monitoring nests in a bid to circumvent the law, according to a senior garda.

A sealed ring on a songbird traditionally suggested it was born in captivity and could legally be sold. But according to Supt Martin Walker, poachers have started stalking birds in the nest and ringing the young birds before they fledge in a bid to get around the law.

“It’s very lucrative. A pair of bullfinches, for example, can sell for up to €200,” said the specialist in wildlife crime. He said that during nesting season, poachers monitor two or three nests at a time, waiting for birds to hatch so that they can ring the young thus avoiding prosecution.

Niall Hatch of Birdwatch Ireland said he was aware of this practice, noting also that “the stress of being captured and handled by humans could lead to the death of some songbirds”.

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Irish Times

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