The National Parks and Wildlife Service in Co Louth are seeking the public’s help in relation to the unlawful killing of two Peregrine Falcons.
The falcons had recently established a nest in a remote location in the Cooley Mountains. Three eggs and two dead adult falcons were recovered by NPWS staff from the nest site.
The adults were unlawfully killed while trying to incubate their young. Forensic and other evidence is being gathered in the expectation that a successful prosecution will take place.
The recent killings have once again regrettably confirmed that birds of prey are still subject to acts of illegal persecution.
The Peregrine is the fastest bird in the world, capable of reaching speeds of over 240km/hour in flight and recorded at 389 km/hour while in stoup, diving for prey (Guinness Book of Records 2005) Due to the manner in which they defend their nest sites from intruders they can leave themselves exposed to persecution.
Peregrine falcon numbers were decimated during the 1950s and 1960s due to the widespread use of DDT and other agricultural pesticides.
Since then, the Peregrine has experienced a population recovery; however they remain very vulnerable to human persecution, which is the prime threat to the stability of the population.
This has been clearly highlighted through these incidents in Co. Louth, as well as other shootings and poisonings which have claimed Peregrines in recent years.