Wildlife officers are appealing to the public for information about the killing of wedge-tailed eagles in the Yea area.
In the latest incident, four wedge-tailed eagles were found dumped in Black Range State Forest, near Limestone, by Forest Fire Management Victoria crews conducting a routine patrol. Up to 20 of the eagles have been found dead, either shot or poisoned, in the same area in recent years.
‘‘Illegally destroying protected native wildlife is a serious environmental crime, which carries significant fines and/or imprisonment,’’ Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) acting resource protection and management program manager Leigh Murray said.
‘‘Because of the location of the carcasses, we believe that they have been intentionally destroyed, possibly shot.
‘‘Last year we located eight eagles within a 25m radius of each other that had been poisoned.
‘‘We are calling on the community to help us gather information about the killings, which will hopefully lead to the prosecution of those responsible.
‘‘Wedge-tailed eagles are Australia’s largest bird of prey and are sometimes targeted by farmers because of the threat they pose to newborn lambs.
‘‘The truth is they more often eat road kill or other deceased animals.
‘‘We know most people admire and value eagles and the role they play in the local environment as well as contributing to our state’s biodiversity.’’
Wedge-tailed eagles are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. The maximum penalty for hunting, taking or destroying protected wildlife is $7773 or six months’ imprisonment, or both.
Information can be provided anonymously by phoning DELWP on 136186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800300000.