Red Kites & Rat Poison – The Golden Eagle Trust Ltd Press Release., Ireland.

[singlepic id=443 w=299 h=401 float= left]Raptor Politics has been requested to post the attached Press Release sent to us by The Golden Eagle Trust Ltd., Ireland detailing the disappointing deaths of 8 Red Kites due to rat poison.

Following the successful release of red kites during the summer in Dublin and Wicklow, it is with disappointment that we report further recent kite deaths in Fingal. Since the release in July, this year, a total of eight (8) kites have now been recovered dead in Fingal since November.

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The deaths include the satellite tagged kite ‘@’ which has flown as far as Co. Mayo on its travels and within a few weeks of returning to Fingal was found dead near Lusk.

Ms Phil Moore, from the Fingal LEADER Partnership expressed sadness saying ‘We just can’t believe ‘our baby’ is dead. We have all been following the satellite tagged kite since her release and have pictures all over the office of her journey; it is upsetting to know she is now dead’.

There were 39 red kites, collected for Fingal under licence from Wales with project partners, the Welsh Kite Trust. The Fingal Red Kite release programme is part of the final and fifth year of an ambitious project to re-establish red kites in Ireland. The deaths represent just over 20% of the red kites released in the Fingal area.

The Golden Eagle Trust is managing the project, which is funded by Fingal LEADER Partnership through the Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013 and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Fingal County Council, at Newbridge Demesne, and a private landowner hosted and facilitated the two separate release cages.

The project is widely supported throughout local communities, a suite of volunteers and landowners. There were over 100 people involved in cage building, collections, feeding and subsequent monitoring of the released kites.

Each kite is fitted with a radio tag which has allowed the project team to follow the kites’ movements since release. Whilst these tags allow us to track their daily movements they have also led us to find the dead birds.

Dr Marc Ruddock, Red Kite Project Manager, said ‘There is nothing more heart-breaking than having to pick up the carcass of bird and putting it in a bag for post-mortem after having followed its development from a small, downy chick collected in Wales and then watching it flying free in Fingal’.

Earlier this year, a post-mortem protocol was agreed between NPWS, Department of Agriculture and the State Laboratory. Each of the red kite carcasses has been sent for testing at Backweston Campus, to establish the cause of death. This process and the rigorous work undertaken is fundamental to the growing understanding of environmental issues and the threats posed to kites and other wildlife.

It has now been confirmed that at least four of the kites contained the second-generation rodenticide, brodifacoum. This is an anti-coagulant rat poison usually recommended for indoor use only, which causes internal bleeding. It is widely recognised that rodenticides can kill non-target species.

Dietary analysis of the red kites, both in Wicklow and Dublin has shown that they are clearly hunting and scavenging rats, providing a natural control on rodent populations. The red kite is a specialist scavenger and is therefore likely to be at high risk of secondary poisoning if feeding on rats which are dead or dying from rodenticides.

We recognise the requirement for rat and mice control in terms of human health and food safety. But we urge amateur and professional users alike to ensure that rodent control programs are carefully planned and follow a defined treatment period to be effective.

The over-use of some chemicals could lead to resistance and accumulation in the environment. Those in the countryside should ensure best practice use of these chemicals to allow for more effective rodent control in the long-term and minimise the secondary poisoning risk to non-target wildlife. This includes other rodent-eating native raptors and owls such as kestrels, buzzards, barn owls, long-eared owls and red kites.

Best practice rodent eradication strategies record information such as the quantity and location of all baits and require baits to be regularly inspected and not left exposed to non-target animals and birds. Furthermore, dead rodents should be collected and disposed of safely and baits should be removed at the end of the treatment. Urban and rural rodenticide users are urged to be mindful of the potential environmental effects of the use of chemicals.

The farming and shooting communities in Fingal are very supportive of the project and are anxious to continue to control rats and mice effectively and minimise unintentional consequences for natural rat predators.

Related Article.

Ten Red Kite chicks fall vistim to 2nd generation Anticoagulant Rodenticide Rat Poison

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Editors Notes

The Irish Red Kite Reintroduction Project is part of an All-Ireland effort to restore red kites. These attractive birds were extinct in Ireland for about 200 years. The Golden Eagle Trust (, NPWS and Welsh Kite Trust ( have collected (from Wales) and released 120 red kites in Co. Wicklow between 2007 and 2011 and 39 red kites in Co. Dublin in 2011. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) released 80 red kites in Co. Down between 2008 and 2010. There are now 10-15 pairs of red kites breeding in Co. Wicklow and 5-6 pairs breeding in Co. Down.

The Irish Red Kite Project is a partnership with the Welsh Kite Trust and National Parks & Wildlife Service. The Fingal project has been funded by the Fingal LEADER Partnership and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Fingal Red Kite project is supported by Fingal County Council, the local Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and the National Association for Regional Game Councils (NARGC), Fingal Conservation Volunteers, the Irish Raptor Study Group, AOL Big Help Day, Fingal Birdwatch Ireland and the Burren Bird of Prey Centre.

The Golden Eagle Trust was founded in 1999 as a registered charity dedicated to the conservation and restoration of Ireland’s native birds and their habitats, in particular declining, threatened, and extinct species. The Golden Eagle Trust manages reintroduction programmes for Golden Eagles in, Co. Donegal, White-tailed Eagles in Co. Kerry and Red Kites in Wicklow & Dublin in partnership with the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

The Golden Eagle Trust’s main aim is to restore, enhance and maintain threatened and extinct native Irish bird species and their habitats through;

• Creative and pro-active conservation management

• Practical conservation research

• Imaginative education and public awareness

Dr Marc Ruddock

Golden Eagle Trust

Red Kite Project Manager


Mr Lorcan O’Toole

Golden Eagle Trust

General Manager


The Welsh Kite Trust ( is a registered charity which raises funds, through individual and corporate sponsorship and by undertaking contract work, to ensure that the conservation and monitoring of kites in Wales is maintained as a high priority. It also advises landowners and others on all matters relating to kites in Wales for example; photography or filming at nests and the setting up of live video links for tourism centres. Interested individuals can become a ‘Friend of the Welsh Kite’ on payment of an annual subscription

6 comments to Red Kites & Rat Poison – The Golden Eagle Trust Ltd Press Release., Ireland.

  • paul williams

    Is a re-introduction program for raptors not condemning them to an agonising death?

  • joao paulo fernandes.

    is wrong to kill the eagles a bird that is lacking in nature ilumuam rodents sick and the world we have.

  • John Miles

    The world is having a massive effect on secondary poisoning. Even cancers are now thought to generate from this and how long it is shown in the human population is only a matter of time. There are presently NO trials to show the effect of predators removing mice and rats in the UK without the use of poison. Again one of the reasons for this is that the ‘pest control’ is multi £ billion industry and like many multi national companies they do not like any one trying to prove otherwise.
    One trail in the Middle east is worth looking at
    Sadly it seems that pests can be controlled by predators but like the killing of Hen Harriers which government really cares!!

  • Jimmy

    Red Kites are very vulenrable to this kind of thing – indeed its probably the main reasons behind large declines of the species in former strongholds like Spain.

  • There is absolutely no need to use rat poisons any more. There are many alternatives to getting rid of rats, and it is beyond me why people still persist in using poisons because not only the damaging effect it can have on wild life as pointed out in the article above but children can also the poison by mistake.

  • alan mcalpine

    i think it is terrible that these red kites have been found dead and i hope the people responsible are found and dealt with.There is no need to use rat poison, can people not see how magnificent these birds are and how privileged it is to have and see them in the wild.

    Editor’s comment. Thank you Alan for your comment. The points you make hit the nail on the head- well done and thank you