A programme to reintroduce protected red kites to Ireland has received a setback with the poisoning of one of the birds, which was found in Wicklow Town. It died despite the efforts of local vets to save it.
Laboratory tests confirmed the bird died after consuming two highly toxic, banned pesticides — carbofuran and alphachloralose — the first case of both substances being found in a kite carcass.
It is suspected the bird had been feeding on carrion placed in the countryside and illegally laced with these chemicals, banned by the Department of Agriculture since 2008. The dead bird was the offspring of an adult female poisoned by alphachloralose just over a year ago near Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow.
The Golden Eagle Trust, which is responsible for the kite project in Co Wicklow, described the deaths of the birds of prey as devastating news.
Marc Ruddock, of the trust, said: “The reintroduction of red kites has been a fantastic success story and the expansion of the population along the east coast has allowed an increasing number of people to see these amazing birds.
“Every year we get tragic incidents like this. Illegally placing poison in the countryside puts wildlife, domestic animals and, potentially, members of the public at risk,” said Dr Ruddock.
He urged anyone with information about this or other wildlife crime to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service, or the gardaí, and also to report poisoning to a local Department of Agriculture office.
A similar appeal was made by Heritage and Gaeltacht Minister Jimmy Deenihan, who said the birds had no chance of survival after ingesting the chemicals.
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