The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has appealed for information following the discovery of two dead white-tailed eagles in Co. Antrim.
Police are investigating the circumstances of the deaths of the birds which were found in the Glenhead Road area of Ballymena on Monday (May 15).
PSNI lead for rural and wildlife crime, superintendent McDowell said that a report was made to police shortly before 2:00p.m on Monday after the dead eagles were found “beside one another”.
“The birds had no obvious signs of injury and suspicions have been raised given the unlikely position where they were found.
“An investigation has now commenced, with a post-mortem examination due to be carried out to determine the cause of death.
“The white-tailed eagle is the UK’s largest native bird of prey, with a vast wing span of up to 2.5m, and are an incredibly beautiful species, which makes the discovery of these dead birds very distressing,” the superintendent said.
The PSNI said that one of the deceased birds was born in Norway and was brought to Ireland as a chick to be released in the lower Shannon estuary in 2022.
A project overseen by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to reintroduce the white-tailed eagle to Ireland began in 2007.
The second phase of the reintroduction programme which ran from 2020-2022 involved the release of young eagles at several sites, including Lough Derg, the lower Shannon estuary and Killarney National Park.
“Following the launch of Operation Subrision last week, our dedicated policing operation to combat rural and wildlife crime, we want the public to be reassured, we take all wildlife crime extremely seriously and are committed to investigating all instances of wildlife crime which are reported to police,” superintendent McDowell added.
Anyone with information which may help police with their investigation is asked to contact the non-emergency number 101 and quote 1096, May 15, 2023.
Members of the public can also submit a report through the PSNI website, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on; 0800 555 111.