Australia: 137 poisoned eagles, Victoria officials say

Australia: 137 poisoned eagles, Victoria officials say
Australia: 137 poisoned eagles, Victoria officials say

Man used poison to kill more than 130 wedge-tailed eagles in Australia, prosecutors say.

A man has been charged over the deaths of more than 130 wedge-tailed eagles – Australia’s largest bird of prey.

The bodies of 136 birds were found hidden in scrubland on properties in Tubbut, Victoria, in south east Australia’s Snowy Mountains region, in April.

It is alleged the man used poisoned baits to kill the protected species between October 2016 and April 2018.

Victoria’s Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) said it was the largest case of wedge-tailed eagle deaths in the state’s history.

“We would like to inform the community that investigations are ongoing, including forensic examination of evidence recently seized during searches of relevant properties,” a spokeswoman said.

In June, locals told the authorities they feared the true figure could be far higher.

The remains of the birds found were spread across four properties which covered about 2,000 hectares.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation understands the man charged is not the owner of the Tubbut properties involved.

He is facing two charges under the Wildlife Act 1975 and has been released on bail. The deliberate killing of this number of wedge-tailed eagles carries a maximum penalty of up to six months’ imprisonment and fines totalling about AUS$115,000 (£63,000) the ABC said.

The man was charged following a state-wide investigation involving more than 30 people.

Authorities have not discussed a possible motive, but during the investigation, locals told the ABC wedge-tailed eagles had become “a big issue” for sheep farmers.

The wedge-tailed eagle has a wingspan up to 2.84m (9 ft 4 in), and has been known to attack paragliders and bring down drones used for mining surveys in Australia.

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