Anger as yet another eagle found poisoned
ANOTHER golden eagle has been found poisoned, bringing to at least 20 the number of protected birds of prey that have been killed since a special programme began.
The five-month-old bird, which was brought as a chick to Glenveagh National Park in Co Donegal five months ago, was found near the village of Killeter in west Tyrone on November 1, after being tracked by a satellite tag.
Post-mortem tests revealed that it had been poisoned by Carbofuran, a pesticide which has been banned in the UK since 2001.
The same substance, which has been banned by the EU since 2008, was found in autopsies on the bodies of two white-tailed eagles in Kerry earlier this year. The chick had been collected in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, and brought to Co Donegal.
Head of the Golden Eagle Trust, Lorcan O'Toole, described the poisoning as "another blow" for the project and added that he feared other birds may have met a similar fate.
"This is a very disappointing development at the end of what has been a successful year.
"We released eight first-year birds this years, four of which have satellite tags attached. We now know how crucial this is for the project when it comes to being able to track them.
"We believe we have probably lost other birds but without satellite tagging, which is very costly, we cannot know for sure," he said.
He added that he was also shocked that anyone would have been setting poison in the autumn. "There is no justification in using poison at this time of the year.
"We are very encouraged by the support we get from conservation groups in Northern Ireland but it is a great shame that someone in Tyrone is still using poison illegally," he said.
Dr James Robinson, director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, described the bird's death as terrible and careless. "The use of this poison is illegal and this method of baiting is indiscriminate and banned; whoever left this out was acting outside the law. The police are investigating this, and we hope they will get to the bottom of it," he said.
Alan Lauder, head of conservation at BirdWatch Ireland, said it was shame that there was still a minority of people who had total disregard for the law when it came to precious birds of prey.
Since 2007, at least 20 protected birds of prey, including white-tailed eagles, golden eagles and red kites, have fallen victim to poisoning.