Island eagle’s death report ‘inconclusive’

Dorset Police has been criticised after concluding an investigation into the death of one of two white-tailed sea eagles found dead in the south of England in the last few months.

The bird was one of 25 eagles which were released on the Island as part of a reintroduction scheme and the police say the investigation results were inconclusive.

A Dorset Police spokesman confirmed on Tuesday (March 29): “An investigation under Section 1 of the Wildlife Countryside Act 1981 was carried out in conjunction with the RSPB, Natural England, National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation.

“A detailed examination and tests have been carried out on the bird, which were inconclusive, and it has therefore not been possible to confirm that any criminal offence has been committed.

“While high levels of Brodifacoum were detected, it has not been possible to establish whether this was as a result of a deliberate act or due to secondary rodenticide poisoning.

“As a result, no further Police action will be taken in relation to this report.”

However, Katie Jo Luxton, RSPB conservation director, said: “We are completely baffled by the decision taken by Dorset Police to end the white-tailed eagle investigation so prematurely.

“Brodifacoum – the rodent poison that killed the eagle – is highly toxic and it is clear that it was being used either incompetently or with intent to kill raptors. Either way, this is an illegal act.”

Managing director of Hillbans Pest Control, Sandra Knowles said: “It is important that extreme care is considered when using any bait to eradicate pests. This case shows the danger of secondary poisoning, which can be the result of people doing it themselves using over the counter or on-line bought bait. Using a professional pest control company ensures this can be avoided, as they adhere to strict industry guidelines, use non-toxic bait that eliminates the danger of secondary poisoning and risk to wildlife, such as the white-tailed eagle and the red squirrel population on the Island.”

Secondary poisoning issue is also a concern for dog and cat owners as there have been a number of cases of pets being poisoned across the Island in this way.