White-tailed Eagles poisoned in Northern Ireland


Two White-tailed Eagles that were found dead in Co Antrim in May were poisoned, police have confirmed.

Their remains were discovered near Glenhead Road, between Ballymena and Larne, in mid-May. One of the eagles was a Norwegian-hatched bird released on the Lower Shannon Estuary in 2022. Post-mortem examinations found that both individuals tested positive for the insecticide bendiocarb and how the birds consumed the insecticide is now being investigated by police.

Post-mortem examinations are due to be undertaken on the two young White-tailed Eagles found close together in Ballymena (Police Service of Northern Ireland).

The RSPB is offering a reward of £5,000 for information leading to a conviction over the death of the birds. The charity's Northern Ireland director Joanne Sherwood described the illegal poisoning as "absolutely devastating".

Police Supt Johnston McDowell said the test results suggested that an individual had placed the insecticide outside illegally. He said: "Bendiocarb is present in the trade product Ficam D, a powder which is only permitted for indoor use to control crawling insects such as wasps and ants. So using this active ingredient in fields would be a breach of biocidal products regulation.

"The illegal killing of these beautiful birds in a popular rural area is disgraceful. For any individual to think that they can ignore the law and lay poisonous bait which has led to the killing of these birds is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Police officers, along with support from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, have been conducting house-to-house inquiries in the areas where the birds had been before they were found dead.