Fine Gael Kerry Senator and Seanad Chief whip, Paul Coghlan , has expressed concern in relation to the shooting down of a young female hen harrier in Co.Kerry. Senator Coghlan was speaking about the matter on the Order of Business in the Seanad today (Tuesday).
"I was most concerned to hear it confirmed this week that a female hen harrier, named Heather, was shot down in the Waterville area in January. Hen harriers are listed as a protected species with only 100 pairs of the birds left in Ireland. As such it is an offence under the Wildlife Act to kill them.
"Heather was tagged with a statelite-tracking device shortly after she hatched in 2013 in east Kerry, as part of the hen harrier project run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and local community group IRD Duhallow.
"The NPWS said that thousands of people had followed the hen harrier's progress from Kerry to the Wicklow mountains through the project. The tracking system tells us that she had visited Meath, Louth, Monaghan and Armagh on her travels before flying the long distance to the southern Cork Coast. Late last year Heather returned to south Kerry, most likely settling there to breed this summer. Unfortunately this will now not come to pass as she was killed by a shot gun.
"it is unclear as to whether this was an accident or not and I am pleased that Gardaí are investigating".