Gardaí investigate killing of two peregrine falcons

Officers seek public’s help following the unlawful deaths of the birds in Co Louth

The two dead adult falcons and the three eggs recovered by NPWS staff from a nest  in the Cooley mountains.

The two dead adult falcons and the three eggs recovered by NPWS staff from a nest in the Cooley mountains.

 

Gardaí and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are seeking the public’s help in relation to the unlawful killing of two peregrine falcons in Co Louth.

The two dead adult falcons were recovered, along with three eggs, by NPWS staff from a nest the birds had recently established in a remote location in the Cooley mountains.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said the adult falcons were killed while trying to incubate their young and that forensic and other evidence was being gathered in the expectation that a successful prosecution will take place.

“The recent killings have once again regrettably confirmed that birds of prey are still subject to acts of illegal persecution,” a statement from the department said.

The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world, capable of reaching speeds of more than 240km/h in flight and 389km/h while in stoop, diving for prey, according to the Guinness Book of Records 2005.

The department said the peregrine falcon has experienced a population recovery after they were decimated during the 1950s and 1960s due to the widespread use of DDT and other agricultural pesticides.

“However, they remain very vulnerable to human persecution, which is the prime threat to the stability of the population,” the department said.

“This has been clearly highlighted through these incidents in Co Louth, as well as other shootings and poisonings which have claimed peregrines in recent years.”

Between 2011 and 2015, there were 109 recorded incidents involving the persecution of birds of prey. These included eight peregrine falcons that were shot and 16 others that were poisoned. The department said many other incidents may have gone unreported.

The NPWS and gardaí are continuing to investigate the most recent incident and are appealing for information from members of the public.

Anyone with information can contact gardaí in Dundalk on 042-9388400 or the local conservation ranger on 076-1002637.