Call to control poison after bird deaths


PRESSURE TO control the poison alphachloralose, available over the counter and used to kill vermin, is intensifying following the poisoning of two Red Kites in Wicklow which were only released into the wild last July.

The birds had ingested alphachloralose and it has been implicated in the poisoning of nine of the 11 reintroduced birds, golden eagles, white tailed eagles and the kites in all four provinces.

The Golden Eagle Trust has lodged a formal complaint with the EU commission over the State’s failure to protect the birds.

The killing of the birds has been condemned by farm organisations as wildlife groups believe poisoned meat bait used by farmers and gamekeepers to kill off foxes and other predators, such as grey crows to protect sheep or game birds, has been responsible.

Mervyn Sunderland of the Wicklow Irish Cattle and Sheepfarmers Association said farmers should be aware of the potential danger of killing Red Kites when using poisons and should refrain from using meat baits.

Wicklow IFA chairman James Hill regretted the poisoning but he said aspirations for an unrealistically sanitised rural landscape, where all fallen animals must be removed from land, militated against successful breeding programmes for birds of prey, whose success depends on an adequate food supply until small mammal populations increase in late spring/early summer. He said the role of such birds as scavengers had been forgotten.

Damian Clarke from the Golden Eagle Trust said it was very disappointing that these birds were poisoned, especially as it had nothing but support and goodwill from the locals, farmers and shooting interests. However, there were a number of people involved in farming or game rearing continuing to use poisons in a reckless and illegal fashion, he said.