Four Red Kites found dead possibly the result of poisoning in Northern Ireland this year

deadkite Following the latest discovery that a fourth dead Red Kite has now been found, possibly the result of poisoning, the RSPB have appealed for the public to come forward with information.

The fourth dead kite was found in Castlewellan, CountyDown, on 14 August.

Adam McClure, Red Kite officer for the RSPB, said: “We suspect that the birds did not die of natural causes.” The four dead birds represent 30% of the breeding Red Kite population in Northern Ireland.

The body of the bird discovered last week has been sent to the agri-food and biosciences institute for a post-mortem examination. However, the RSPB suspects all four birds were poisoned.

Mr McClure said: “We do not know what caused the deaths of these four Kites as yet and are eagerly awaiting the post-mortem results dating back as far as January.

“All birds of prey are protected under the law, but unfortunately this doesn’t always mean that they are safe from poison.

“In some cases, these birds are being deliberately targeted as some people incorrectly see them as a threat to their livestock or game birds.

“They may also ingest the poison by eating dead mice or rats that have been killed by rodenticides.”

The Red Kite was reintroduced to Northern Ireland by the RSPB in 2008

Of the four dead birds, two were breeding males, one was a breeding female and one was a juvenile.

The female was found dead in the nest where she was incubating two eggs, meaning the chicks inside also perished.

In 2008, the RSPB began a Red Kite reintroduction project that has been successful in encouraging the birds to breed in Northern Ireland.

Emma Meredith, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) wildlife liaison officer, said: “Police take wildlife crime seriously and if it is found that there is a breach in the legislation then they will investigate.

“Currently police have requested tests on the birds reported to identify the cause of death.”

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