Endangered triangular-tailed eagle found with ‘chopped’ paws in northeast Tasmania
The dismembered body of an endangered white-tailed eagle was found in Tasmania, with its legs likely severed as a “souvenir”.
- The dead bird was probably killed by power lines or a car
- Killing or interfering with wildlife is illegal in Tasmania without the corresponding license or permit.
- People used eagle talons as gun mounts on their wall
The gruesome find was reported to the non-profit Raptor Refuge for wildlife earlier this week after the bird was found dead under power lines in Fingal, northeast Tasmania.
Director Craig Webb said it was distressing to see the dismembered bird of prey.
“So someone saw this bird and hacked [the feet] with maybe a tomahawk or something for a keepsake. ”
Mr Webb said the female triangular-tailed eagle likely died while flying through power lines or being hit by a car.
“We x-rayed it just to rule out any lead shots and make sure it wasn’t too,” he said.
Mr Webb said it was the first time he had seen a raptor desecrated in this manner in years.
“It was happening more than these days… before [people] actually used eagle talons as rifle mounts on their walls, ”he said.
He said it was important that the deaths of white-tailed eagles be recorded and that autopsies be performed for further research.
“To be able to use this specimen to collect data… to see what’s going on, to see if it had any burn marks or electrocution,” he said.
An illegal act
Killing or interfering with wildlife is illegal in Tasmania without the proper license or permit.
A website of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) lists the significant penalties applied for wildlife offenses.
“A person convicted of aggravated cruelty under animal welfare law can face fines of up to $ 34,000 and / or up to five years in prison.”
The Tasmanian White-tailed Eagle is listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Protection Act (1995) and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).
Mr Webb said it was unlikely that action could be taken against the assailant unless he identified himself.
Mr Webb said the birds needed to be protected.
“For the people who took this, have a life,” he said.
“They are incredible creatures and [there is] you don’t need to have pieces of it [bird].
“The goal here is to respect these animals and minimize any risk that there is a black market for these birds.”
Three dead birds in a weekend
Three of the wedge-tailed eagles were found dead this weekend in Tasmania.
Mr Webb said these were devastating discoveries.
“Richmond’s was from power lines, Swansea’s is unknown, and Fingal’s was under power lines. [and] also next to a road [so] we are not sure of the cause of death at this point, ”he said.
Raptor Refuge was alerted to the incident in Fingal when a member of the public called the hotline for dead or injured raptors.
He said more needs to be done to raise awareness about the importance of birds and what can be done to mitigate the threats the species faces.
Anyone with information about suspected wildlife offenses should report it to the Investigation and Law Enforcement Section on 0417 661 234 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.