A search of a property in Victoria’s east has uncovered the bodies of 136 wedge-tailed eagles, along with four other protected bird species. The bodies were stashed around the farm in bushes and scrubland, suggesting that someone had been killing eagles for years and hiding the evidence.
According to Fairfax, four piles of dead eagles were found in late May, after a farm worker fell out with the property’s owner and snitched to police. The police then contacted the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), who spent 30 days searching the farm in Tubbut—near the NSW border—to establish the total tally, most of which appeared to have been shot or poisoned.
Jill Redwood, from Environment East Gippsland, told Fairfax that farmers actually kill eagles on a regular basis. Believing that the eagles take infant sheep and cattle, farmers shoot and poison the birds to protect their incomes.
"It makes me feel like we haven't progressed since small farming settlements, it's widespread over all of Gippsland. I'm hearing farmers in Tambo, up the Buchan Valley, everywhere,” she told reporters Melissa Cunningham and Simone Fox Koob. “This is one example of one farmer's slaughter of protected species. You have to wonder how many other people are doing it."
At this stage the DELP say no charges have been laid, but “we have someone helping us with our enquiry.”
Deliberately killing a single wedge-tailed eagle carries a fine of $7928.50, and/or up to six months in jail.