Probe as rare white-tailed eagle bird blasted by shotgun
One of the first white-tailed eagles successfully bred in Ireland has starved to death after being shot.
The rare bird which was discovered in a Tipperary field, was shot but did not die immediately.
The creature suffered from a broken leg and wing and was found with up to 50 shotgun pellets in it,a post-mortem revealed.
An investigation is now being carried out by gardai and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as under Irish law it is a crime to kill or harm the species.
According to NPWS district conservation officer Stefan Jones, the bird slowly starved to death.
"This bird would have been unable to fish and forage as normal," he said.
The bird was reared by two mating eagles in Lough Derg. It was one of two that was part of a breeding programme to reintroduce the species to Ireland.
Dr Allan Mee, the Reintroduction Project manager, said he was in shock.
"This bird and its sibling were the hope for the future of the species in Ireland. Let's hope its sibling and the other chicks to fly from nests in Ireland in 2014 will see a better fate," he added.