Belfast Telegraph

Protected bird dies after poisoning

One of Ireland's rarest protected birds of prey has been discovered poisoned.

The Golden Eagle was found outside the village of Killeter, west Tyrone, last month.

Police were called in after the male raptor was poisoned by carbofuran, which has been banned in the UK since 2001.

RSPB Northern Ireland director Dr James Robinson said: "Words cannot express our disgust at this terrible and careless act."

The bird was collected as a chick from the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in June this year and reared and released in Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal, by the Golden Eagle Trust as part of an ongoing project to restore golden eagles in the Republic of Ireland.

It was fitted with a satellite transmitter before it was released in August. Tracking showed the eagle spent several weeks around the release area before wandering down to Killeter Forest in Tyrone, where it has been since mid-October.

Mr Robinson added: "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."

There are no indigenous Golden Eagles in Northern Ireland. There are a couple of pairs in Co Antrim which have migrated from Donegal.

According to the chairman of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group Jim Wells the last natural one died in 1912 after they were targeted extensively in earlier years.

Mr Wells said: "There are very few birds of prey and this is a very worrying trend. We thought that there would be a good chance that this would not be a problem but sadly we have lost this very valuable bird of prey totally needlessly."

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