£5000 reward offered for information after eagles confirmed to have been poisoned in Ballymena

Two eagles found dead in Ballymena have been confirmed as having been poisoned.

A post-mortem examination carried out on the two white-tailed eagles has concluded they died after consuming the insecticide bendiocarb.

The police further suspect that the substance was introduced into the outside environment illegally.

A £5,000 reward has been offered to help find those responsible.

The two birds were found dead beside one another in Ballymena in May.

The birds had no obvious signs of injury, and the police deemed the position they were found in as being suspicious.

One of the birds was born in Norway and then brought as a chick to the Shannon estuary in 2022.

In a statement on Friday, Rural and Wildlife Crime Superintendent Johnston McDowell said: “Sadly, police can confirm the two majestic birds found on land in the Glenhead Road area were poisoned, following a post-mortem examination."The test results suggest that an individual not only has access to the insecticide bendiocarb but has placed this into the outside environment illegally, so that wild birds have been able to consume it.

“Bendiocarb is present in the trade product Ficam D, a powder which is only permitted for indoor use to control crawling insects such as wasps and ants, so using this active ingredient in fields would be a breach of Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR).

“The illegal killing of these beautiful birds in a popular rural area is disgraceful, and for any individual to think that they can ignore the law and lay poisonous bait which has led to the killing of these birds, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“There must be people in the community who are aware of individuals committing these offences, and who can come forward and assist police with any information they have."

Joanne Sherwood, Director RSPB NI said: “"The illegal poisoning of these two magnificent White-tailed Eagles is absolutely devastating news.

"That's why the RSPB are offering a £5,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction of those who are responsible for this awful crime."

Police are appealing for information. The RSPB can also be contacted on their confidential Raptor Crime Hotline on 0300 999 0101 or online at crime@rspb.org.uk.

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