March 4, 2009

Golden Eagle Poisoned In Ireland

The death of a golden eagle who was recently introduced into Ireland could influence the government into backing legislation that would ban poisoned baits.

The Minister of Environment and Heritage expressed his "concern and disgust" about the death of the eagle in Northwest Ireland. 

Minister John Gormley said, "This is not the first case of poisoning of a rare reintroduced bird in Ireland."

"Last year we had incidences in County Kerry (in the southwest) where a white-tailed eagle was also killed after eating poisoned bait."

Farmers sometimes utilize poisoned bait in Ireland to kill unwanted animals.

"I have been concerned since then that our laws regarding the use of poisoned bait are not strong enough, and that a very small number of people have been acting irresponsibly and possibly illegally in this regard," Gormley said.

The Environment and Heritage Ministry is drafting proposals to regulate poisoned meat-based bait.

Under the proposed laws, people will only be able to use poison under license, and only if there is no alternative.

Imported golden eagles from Scotland have been set free every year in the Glenveagh national park in Donegal since the project was adopted by the government.

In 2007, the first eagle chick to be born in the country for almost 100 years hatched out.

During the era of shooting parties in the 19th century, golden eagles were a popular target and died out in Ireland.

Stuffed golden eagles were a fashionable decorative item and their eggs were prized by collectors.

Golden eagles were last bred in Glenveagh in 1910.

The birds became extinct in Ireland during 1912 after a failed breeding attempt in County Mayo.