Sea Eagles Poisoned and Shot in Ireland

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Minister Deenihan condemns killing of White- tailed Eagles in Mayo and Donegal

May 2012. Irish minister Jimmy Deenihan, has condemned the apparent poisoning of White tailed Eagles in Mayo and another recently in Donegal.

White Tailed Sea Eagle (c) www.krank.ie

Satellite tag

The young Mayo eagle, which had been released in Killarney National Park in 2010, was carrying a satellite tag to track its movements, and when the tag showed the bird was not moving about, a search was carried out by National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and the Golden Eagle Trust. The dead bird was found on the shores of Lough Beltra in County Mayo.

Poisoned and shot

Post mortem results showed that not only had the eagle got high concentrations of poison in its body, but it had also been shot at some time in the past, and had shotgun pellets in its body. It is not clear whether the shooting and poisoning were related incidents.

Several eagles have been poisoned in the past in Ireland

Post mortem results from another eagle, found dead recently in the Blue Stack mountains in Donegal, also had been poisoned.

The Minister said “The satellite tracking shows that these birds had been wandering over hundreds of coastal, hill and lowland farms in recent months unmolested and without concern. I understand that landowners in Mayo were actively sending in regular sightings to the project manager/team. I am, therefore, very disappointed that some unknown individuals would wantonly try to kill these magnificent birds”.

“Finding the White-tailed Eagle dead in such a beautiful part of Mayo was saddening”, said Dr. Allan Mee of the Golden Eagle Trust, and project manager of the White-tailed Eagle project. “After releasing this male eagle in Killarney National Park in 2010 we have been following its movement with great interest. Last year it spent over 5 months in north Mayo where it had been undoubtedly fishing on some of the rivers and lakes there before returning to Kerry for the winter”.

Dr Mee continued “It returned to the same areas in Mayo in late March and would probably have spent the summer there again. It’s tragic to think someone for some unknown reason would kill it. We would like to acknowledge the cooperation and goodwill shown to the reintroduction project by local communities throughout Ireland especially farming and fishing communities. It is ironic to think that at the same time as the reintroduction project is now bearing the fruit of this cooperation with birds nesting and generating huge interest in Co. Clare, one of our birds has been needlessly attacked.”

‘Wonderful asset to tourism’

The Minister also said “I find these incidents all the more disappointing given that it was only last month that a pair of White-tailed eagles were confirmed nesting near Mountshannon in County Clare. I am well aware that the presence of the White-tailed eagles in Kerry has proved a wonderful asset to tourism in my home county, and their establishment in other counties has great potential for tourism.

“Not only are they a tourist asset, but they can be beneficial in other ways. In other countries they have been shown to control the numbers of other fish-eating birds in freshwaters, such as cormorants.”

The National Parks and Wildlife Service are investigating the killings. Minister Deenihan urged that anyone with information about the matter should contact the local Garda Siochána or the National Parks and Wildlife Service on 095-41054.

First published in Wildlife Extra

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum

Nic Slocum is an experienced naturalist and wildlife guide and is best known for his escorted tours taking enthusiasts out, both in Ireland and overseas, to view and photograph whales and dolphins. Nic maintains a lifelong passion for using the written word to promote the conservation of our wildlife and wild places and has appeared as an expert commentator on both radio and TV. A zoologist by training, Nic has published articles on conservation related issues in regional and national newspapers. Nic is a director of Whale Watch West Cork.com and Whales World Wide.com

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Glenn Bartley

Nic, shocking that it is happening in our beautiful Ireland. I was aware that some gamekeepers in the UK were illegally targeting raptors. I hope that the perpetrators will be caught and severely punished.