Two white-tailed sea eagles brought to Kerry as part of a national programme to reintroduce the birds of prey to Ireland have been found dead.
In August 2007, after an absence of a century, 15 white-tailed sea eagles were reintroduced to the wild in County Kerry. Scientist Dr Allan Mee, manager of the White-Tailed Eagle Project in Kerry, was tracking the birds by radio when he guessed something was wrong.
When a bird dies and the transmitter doesn’t move for several hours, it gives off a different signal, I knew it had either died or the transmitter had fallen off.
The introduction of the birds was not without controversy, and some 50 farmers protested over fears for their sheep when the chicks first arrived from Norway. But despite these initial fears, Frank McMahon of the National Parks and Wildlife Service believes the birds were well received locally,
That really makes it more disappointing that we should lose three birds already.
It is believed the two birds found dead on the Iveragh Peninsula were poisoned, but foul play is not suspected.
However for the safety of the 12 remaining eagles, landowners are being asked to refrain from using poisoned meat as bait, or doing anything that might further reduce the population.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 February 2008. The reporter is Jennie O'Sullivan.