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A satellite-tagged Hen Harrier has been shot dead in Co Kerry.

The young female bird was known to thousands of people who had followed her since her first flight from a nest in east Kerry two years ago.

She has been fitted with a satellite tag as part of a joint project between the National Parks & Wildlife Service and local community group IRD Duhallow to raise awareness of the spectacular bird of prey.

She was named 'Heather', by school children in Duhallow and had captured the imaginations of people who followed her progress as she travelled throughout the country, Heather recently returned to the south-west where it was hoped she would breed for the first time this spring.

Dr. Barry O'Donoghue of the National Parks & Wildlife Service oversaw the satellite tracking project.

"Knowing this bird since she was a tiny chick, and having followed her every movement remotely and in the field was a real privilege, enlightening and indeed humbling," he said.

"Every time without fail, she lit up my eyes when her tag showed she was alive and well.

"It was heart-breaking to find this young bird when she had been shot.