Yet another white-tailed sea eagle has been poisoned in County Kerry – the entire re-introduction programme is under threat. This is the third eagle that has been found dead within a kilometre, and within a month. Somebody in Beaufort, County Kerry, is laying out poisoned bait – despite the fact that it is illegal to poison birds. And the poisoning of foxes will soon be outlawed, too. That aside, in two of the three eagles found in that are, the poison that was used to kill them is illegal.

I’m heartbroken and dis-illusioned. This year so far seems to be the worst year for poisonings yet. Why? Don’t ask me. Maybe the eagles and other raptors are not the target of the poison that’s being laid out. Maybe the poison is targeted at foxes, badgers and other so-called vermin. Simply covering the meat with a piece of corrugated iron or something similar would mean that the eagles can’t see the meat, and wouldn’t feed from it. Foxes etc. would smell it, still eat it, and be out of the way (I still think poisoning any animal is absolutely disgusting, but that’s for another day…) The fact remains – it’s eagles that are dead, eagles that have been provided to us by Norwegian and Scottish re-introduction programmes. Of course there is now severe critizism from these countries – why aren’t you Irish doing more to protect your birds? Why aren’t you taking action against poisoning? Yes, why – I ask myself the same question. The minister for the environment, John Gormley, has condemned the killings – but what’s being done in the area where the dead birds are found? As far as I’m concerned, there should be searches of farms, and if poison (illegal poison, at that) is found, severe fines should be imposed, possibly even prison sentences. As it stands, there’s people boasting about their evil deeds, and nothing’s being done to bring them down.

Raising awareness is crucial – which is why the work done by institutions the Burren Birds of Prey Centre in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, is now more important than ever. I’m proud to be one of the volunteers there, and will be doing my part in educating people about the re-introduction programmes in Ireland, about raptors in general, and hopefully seeing the birds up close, and learning about them will make a difference.

(feather of white-tailed sea eagle Sika)


~ by Simone on May 12, 2010.

2 Responses to “Iolar”

  1. This kind of thing usually happens through ignorance – maybe in this case a fear that the Eagles will pick off small farm creatures like very young lambs?? It’s terribly upsetting to take one step forward and two steps back in any conservation project and so I hope that this can be resolved, and soon.

    I’ve been looking through your site – you take lovely photos. I went on several holidays to Ireland as a child, some time being spent in the Galway area and across to Achill Island. Galway is wild and beautiful and I specifically remember Achill because we stopped at a hotel where a lump of amethyst was being used as a door stop! Whilst out and about we started looking for amethysts and found a place where they were just lying on the surface if you looked hard enough. To me, as a child, it was like finding buried treasure! It was a great way to spend a couple of hours.

    Thanks for popping by my place – I hope you’ll swing by again some time. :)

    • Thank you for your words!
      The thing is, eagles don’t take lambs… they will, however, feed on a carcass of a lamb that died of other causes, and if the farmer sees that, of course he blames the bird… *sighs* ignorance certainly is key here. Which is why raising awareness is all the more important!
      I’m glad you like my photographs, and have so fond memories of Ireland :) It is a beautiful spot out here!

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