Sea eagle poisoned in Northern Ireland: police appeal for info one year later!

WTE Mike Watson2Last week, at the end of May 2014, the Police Service of Northern Ireland issued a vague press release calling for information about the discovery of a poisoned white-tailed eagle in the Armoy area of Northern Ireland. Toxicology results revealed the bird had been killed by the banned poison, Carbofuran.

The thing is, this bird was discovered in April 2013 – over a year ago – and yet this is the first time the PSNI have published anything about it.

Here’s what their press release said:

“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a sea eagle.

During April 2013 police received a report from a member of the public regarding a dead sea eagle found within the Armoy area.

Subsequent toxicology reports confirmed Carbofuran poisoning to be the cause of death.

Carbofuran is a banned substance which is highly toxic and poses a serious risk to public health and safety.

Police are appealing to anyone with information in relation to this incident to contact them on the new non-emergency number 101″.

It’s not known if this was an adult or a juvenile bird, or whether it was from the Kerry reintroduction project in SW Ireland or whether it was a Scottish bird.

It’s also not known whether this appalling delay was due to the toxicology lab, or whether it was due to the police, or both. It’s not the first time that such chronically long delays have occurred here – see here and here for previous blogs. Whichever agency is responsible, it’s shocking that it has has taken over a year for an appeal for information.

It’s worth asking some questions about this. Let’s email the following people to ask about why it has taken so long to (a) appeal for information about this crime, and (b) warn the public in the Armoy area of Northern Ireland about the serious risk of a banned and highly toxic poison lying around in the countryside:

Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan (who incidentally has recently pledged improved action against wildlife crime – see here). His email address: doe.iemonitoring@doeni.gov.uk

Minister for Agriculture Michelle O’Neill (who is directly responsible for overseeing the process of toxicology sampling). Her email address: private.office@dardni.gov.uk

The local police office of the Armoy area: NPTBallycastle@psni.pnn.police.uk

Photo of a white-tailed eagle by Mike Watson


10 Responses to “Sea eagle poisoned in Northern Ireland: police appeal for info one year later!”

  1. 1 Fiona Cameron
    June 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Is this a case of ‘better late than never’? Can’t see how that works. Just seems to sum up the REAL attitude of the powers that be to killing of raptors. Fine words, precious little meaningful action.

  2. 2 Jimmy
    June 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Anyone keeping stats on these crimes in NI??…a number of Kites were poisoned last year too

  3. 3 Marco McGinty
    June 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    It would be nice to think this was just a typo but sadly it probably wasn’t.

    I can see some of these officers being head-hunted by Police Scotland!

  4. 4 crypticmirror
    June 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Is there a competition between our police services to see who cock up wildlife-crime investigations the most? This must be a good entry for it, but I’m confident that the idiots this side of the water can top it…..somehow. If you didn’t laugh, you’d have to cry.

  5. 5 Dougie
    June 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    They end their announcement with “Carbofuran is a banned substance which is highly toxic and poses a serious risk to public health and safety.” ………………… Serious !! and they sit on it for 13 months – unbelievable. I am almost speechless.

  6. June 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    As a resident of the Armoy area of North Antrim, I am of course absolutely disgusted by this state of affairs & have written today, in the strongest terms, to the three addresses above, stating my absolute disgust at this totally unacceptable delay. I am also doing my best to raise this matter through various local media outlets, e.g. facebook & the local press. … I must say, in their defense, that any time I have contacted the local PSNI on environmental matters, they have always responded very quickly, so I am at a loss to understand why it has taken so long for them to react, in this case.

    • 7 Marco McGinty
      June 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Firstly, I wish you much success in your attempts to highlight this poor response from PSNI.

      Secondly, in response to your final point, it was most probably done deliberately to protect a friend, or someone in high standing, perhaps a wealthy landowner. Are there any shooting estates near to where the bird was found?

  7. June 4, 2014 at 12:56 am

    No Marco, this is Sheep country, so I’m afraid the finger of guilt will point squarely towards one of the many local Sheep Farmers, some of those self-proclaimed guardians of our wildlife & countryside! :-(

  8. June 12, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I wrote to all three too and just got a reply from Inspector David Anderson, Ballymoney as the bird was located in Ballymoney Area Command Unit. Delighted to get a reply – what a novelty! I tweeted to say that Envir Minister email doesn’t work. Blocked or typo? doe.iemonitoring@doeni.gov.uk

  9. 10 p
    June 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    by the way the police know who it is

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