• Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

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Two White-tailed Eagles found poisoned in Antrim – RSPB offer a reward for information

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Two dead White-tailed Eagles recovered from the Glenwherry area, Ballymena were illegally poisoned, it has been confirmed. The RSPB is offering a reward of £5,000 for information leading to a conviction.

The Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) have confirmed that two White-tailed Eagles recovered from the Glenwherry area last month were illegally poisoned.

Today, the PSNI issued a second appeal for information following confirmation that they were illegally poisoned. The poisoned birds were found together in the Glenhead Road area of Glenwherry on 15th May 2023. The PSNI have disclosed that both birds died as a result of ingesting bendiocarb. This insecticide is the most commonly detected substance in raptor persecution pesticide abuse incidents.

Conservationists monitoring one of the birds, which was fitted with a satellite tag, became concerned when the tag’s data indicated it had stopped moving. The bird’s body was then traced, with a second untagged bird also lying dead close by.

White-tailed Eagle, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

Both birds were collected and sent off by the PSNI for post-mortem to determine the cause of death. Results from this confirmed that both birds were illegally poisoned.

Joanne Sherwood, Director RSPB NI said: “”The illegal poisoning of these two magnificent White-tailed Eagles is absolutely devastating news. That’s why the RSPB are offering a £5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction of those who are responsible for this awful crime.”

The tagged bird was only a year old and was released in the Lower Shannon Estuary in August 2022 by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as part of an on-going re-introduction programme, having been collected as a chick from Norway earlier in 2022. The second bird was an unmarked immature bird of unknown origin, potentially from Scotland or Ireland.

RSPB NI Investigations Officer, Dean Jones, said: “It is devastating to hear that these magnificent birds of prey fell victim to illegal poisoning. Poison left out in the open like this is utterly indiscriminate and poses a huge risk not only to wildlife but to people and pets. It is not only illegal, but extremely irresponsible and dangerous. We implore that anyone who knows any information on who is responsible for the death of these birds to get in touch with the PSNI”.

The RSPB is offering a reward of £5,000 for any information leading to the conviction of those responsible for this crime.

If you have any information that can help the PSNI with this investigation, please contact police on the non-emergency number 101 and quote the case reference number 1096-150523. Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or speak to RSPB Investigations directly via their confidential ‘Raptor Crime Hotline’ 0300 999 0101, use the online reporting form or email crime@rspb.org.uk.