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Home Kent News Article
Buzzards could become extinct in Kent if licences are granted to destroy their nests, a campaigning group has claimed.
The Kent Ornithological Society has written to the county's MPs to condemn a recent decision by Natural England to grant licences to destroy the nests of breeding buzzards.
The move was agreed in Northumberland to protect the interests of commercial pheasants shoots.
Now the society fears the Kent buzzard population - once extinct in the county - could yet again be wiped out if similar licences are granted here.
A spokesman said the birds had recently made a welcome return to Kent, and were now a common sight after earlier extinction.
Buzzards are protected by law but Natural England has recently given the go ahead for a shooting estate to destroy buzzard nests.
The society fears a precedent has been set that would see culls of buzzards across Kent.
If the same rules used in Northumberland allowing the destruction of buzzard nests within 1,000 metres of a pheasant rearing pen were applied in Kent, very few breeding buzzards in Kent would escape.
Society president Don Taylor said: “Buzzards are one of the few species that is bucking the trend and increasing not declining.
"The sight of Buzzards soaring above Kentish woodlands provides pleasure for birdwatchers and non-bird watchers in the county.
"It would be tragic if Buzzards were to disappear from Kent again just to protect the interests of commercially-run pheasant shoots.
"The evidence is that birds of prey account for less than 2% of pheasant losses and there are better ways of protecting pheasants from predators than killing birds of prey."
He said it was ironic that the news of Natural England's decision comes as the RSPB published its State of Nature report, highlighting pressures on wildlife in the UK.
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