Letter: Birds of prey still under threat

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The Independent Online
ir: Duff Hart-Davis's article conveys exactly the attitudes which our report Birds of Prey in the UK: Back from the Brink was produced to counter.

Rather than increasing until they are "intolerably numerous", birds of prey are only now beginning to recover to former numbers. Only four of the 15 species are close to completing their recovery.

The report suggests practical ways in which songbird and red grouse numbers could be increased and predation of domestic pigeons reduced without any need for birds of prey control.

All predators, including blackbirds, otters and owls have to catch prey in order to survive. In blaming the declines in farmland birds on sparrowhawks rather than agricultural change, the findings of high-quality research are ignored in favour of anecdote.

We hope that our report will help the raptor debate to reach a more rational level in advance of the publication of the Joint Raptor Study.

ROBIN PELLEW

Director, WWF-UK

Godalming, Surrey

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