‘DISTRESSING’: Two white-tailed eagles found dead in ‘suspicious’ circumstances

‘DISTRESSING’: Two white-tailed eagles found dead in ‘suspicious’ circumstances

POLICE are investigating after two white-tailed eagles were found dead in an “unlikely position” in Northern Ireland.

The bodies of the birds were found next to one another, with no obvious sign of injury, PSNI officers have confirmed.

They were found in the Glenhead Road area of Ballymena, Co. Antrim on May 15.

Police are now appealing for information as they investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

One of the birds is known to have been born in Norway but was released into the Shannon estuary in 2022.

The PSNI’s Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, Superintendent Johnston McDowell said: “A report was made to police shortly before 2pm on Monday, after the discovery of two white-tailed eagles 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 an incredibly beautiful species

He added: “The white-tailed eagle is the UK’s largest native bird of prey, with a vast wing span of up to 2.5 metres, and are an incredibly beautiful species, which makes the discovery of these dead birds very distressing.

“In particular, we are aware one of the birds was born in Norway and brought as a chick to be released in the lower Shannon estuary in 2022.

“Following the launch of Op 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.

Anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101 and quote 1096 15/05/23.