A diplomatic row broke out yesterday in the Republic of Ireland over the poisoning of eagles.
The Norwegian ambassador hit out at the latest killing of a white-tailed eagle that originated in his country, and was introduced here as a chick in a special programme.
A total of 14 white-tailed eagles generously sent over from Norway have died so far. Seven were poisoned, while tests are ongoing to determine the cause of death in the remaining cases.
The latest eagle was found dead on Sunday in Beaufort, Co Kerry, of suspected poisoning -- the third in the same area in the last four weeks. It had been released in Killarney National Park in 2008.
Investigators believe that the birds died from consuming an animal carcass laced with carbofuran, a banned pesticide. While this latest incident is still under investigation, lab tests on the other two birds confirmed that they had been poisoned by carbofuran.
Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland Öyvind Nordsletten expressed his outrage at the latest eagle death.
"We in Norway are deeply concerned about the situation and hope that all can be done to make such poisoning illegal," he said.
He said Norwegians welcomed the white-tailed sea eagle's re-introduction in Co Kerry as a positive step in restoring biodiversity here.
"We hope that the unfortunate practice of poisoning will be ended so that this magnificent eagle, that we are very familiar with in Norway, can once again be part of the Irish landscape," he added.
The latest bird was discovered floating in the Laune River near Beaufort by a group of kayakers including mountaineer Con Moriarty, and his 12-year-old daughter Liadh.
It is illegal to use dead livestock -- like lambs -- as a meat bait, but an anomaly allows foxes to be killed with meat laced with poison. This has allowed the continued use of poison and poses a huge threat to birds of prey.
But an amendment to the Wildlife Act to outlaw all use of poison on meat baits is imminent. It is illegal to lace any carcass with poison to kill protected birds.
But the eagle found dead is the 19th protected bird of prey found dead from suspected poison in the last three years.
The poisons used were the banned pesticide carbofuran, alphachloranose, which is legal for killing vermin such as mice and rats, and paraquat, legal for use as a weedkiller.
Eagle project leaders hope stricter laws on the use of poison will help curb the deaths of the recently introduced golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, and red kites.
The IFA (Irish Farmers' Association) has said it condemns any laying of poisons and favoured environmentally friendly practices.
All three eagles found in the Beaufort area in the past month were discovered within a kilometre of each other. The first two birds tested positive for carbofuran poisoning.
A search of land by garda detectives in Killarney and a veterinary inspector from the Department of Agriculture located several sheep carcasses.
A dead raven removed for toxicology from the land also tested positive for carbofuran.
Mr Moriarty said: "It is profoundly sad (that) ignorant behaviour has led to the death of these great creatures."
Jerry O'Grady, chairman of Killarney Chamber of Tourism appealed to farming representative bodies to issue a statement condemning indiscriminate poisoning.
Local councillor Michael Healy-Rae said: "I'm very disappointed with the losses of eagles to date in Kerry. While I had my reservations about the reintroduction . . . and possible detrimental effects of the birds, this hasn't been the case. So I am very disappointed that these incidents have been occurring."
Source Irish Independent