North Tipperary IFA has registered its “disgust” at the shooting of a young white-tailed eagle that was found dead on the shores of Lough Derg.
The male bird was found in the Ballingarry / Terryglass area at the north eastern end of the lake with as many as 60 shotgun pellets in its body. The bird had a broken wing and leg.
It is believed the bird may have lived for some time after being shot and would have been able to fly. However it would have been in dreadful pain.
IFA president Philip Kinane told the Tipperary Star: “I was absolutely disgusted when I heard of this.”
The farm leader pointed out that the bird could have been shot by anyone, saying; “Tipperary farmers have no issue with eagles. They are an indigenous species.”
He did not believe it was shot by a farmer worried about it taking sheep or lambs because there are “so few sheep left in Tipperary it wouldn’t register as a threat”.
“This was the act of a clown with a gun. It wasn’t even a proper hunter. There was no gain to be made out of shooting the bird,” he said. “Why would you shoot it?”
He said Dr Alan Mee, who is over the re-introduction project, talked to farmers last year and they were all aware of the importance of the programme.
The last sighting of the eagle was near Dromineer, and the bird was one of two hatched near Mountshannon, County Clare, that left its nest with its sibling last July. It was the first time in 100 years that a white-tailed eagle had hatched and fledged in Ireland.
The killing represents a serious blow to the eagle reintroduction programme in Ireland, a programme already tainted by eagle poisonings in various parts of the country.
The shooting has been described by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, as a “shocking crime”.
Nenagh Gardai are investigating the killing and can be contacted at 067-31333.