15 birds of prey killed in Northern Ireland last year
Fifteen birds of prey were killed in Northern Ireland last year, according to a new report from the RSPB.
Almost half of the cases were caused by poisoning.
Buzzards, red kites and a peregrine falcon were amongst the birds targeted. The worst area was in County Down, where seven birds were found dead.
The charity says that is "very concerning" as it is where it is trying to reintroduce the red kite.
At present there are 12 breeding pairs - well short of the 50 pairs needed for a sustainable population.
The project suffered a blow in 2014 when a member of the public contacted the charity about a possible poisoning incident.
A nest, near Katesbridge, was found to contain a dead female and two dead chicks.
"The problem is a constant battle and will only be won through raising awareness and concerted efforts to identify and penalise the minority of people who threaten these birds' very existence," said Michelle Hill, senior conservation officer with RSPBNI.
This report follows on from another last week that found 33 birds of prey had been killed in Northern Ireland between 2009 and 2013.