ANOTHER white-tailed sea eagle has been poisoned in west Cork. The female bird was found dead on the seashore near Glengarriff on January 18.
It is the second female to have been found dead in recent weeks. A cause of death could not be established for the other bird – found in Derrynane, south Kerry – as the body was too decomposed for analysis.
The deaths bring to 26 the number of white-tailed eagles that have died out of 100 that have been released in Killarney National Park since 2007, as part of a reintroduction programme.
To date, 12 of these have been confirmed as having died of poisoning.
Project manager Dr Allan Mee said the latest find was very disappointing and disheartening for those involved in the project.
The eagle found in Glengarriff had been released in August 2010. She had spent most of the time since then in south Kerry, before moving onto the Beara Peninsula between Adrigole and Glengarriff in December last.
A post-mortem carried out at the Department of Agriculture and test results from the state laboratory in Celbridge, Co Kildare revealed that she died from poison, which is thought to have been ingested through eating poisoned carrion.
Eagles are protected under Irish law but illegal poisoning continues to be a problem, according to Dr Mee.
He said: "We realise that landowners have in the past used poison.
"The use of poisons or other substances for the control of foxes and crows is now illegal."
However, Dr Mee said there had been positive developments, including the first successful breeding attempt in Lough Derg, Co Clare last year, when a pair of eagles produced eggs – although these didn't hatch.
He said at least six pairs could nest this year.