Wildlife officers are appealing to the public for information relating to the killing of Wedge-tailed Eagles (Aquila audax) in the Yea area.
Up to 20 Wedge-tailed Eagles have been found dead, either shot or poisoned, in the same area during recent years.
In the latest incident, four Wedge-tailed Eagles have been found dumped in Black Range State Forest, near Limestone, by Forest Fire Management Victoria crews conducting a routine patrol.
“Illegally destroying protected native wildlife is a serious environmental crime, which carries significant fines and/or imprisonment,” Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Acting Program Manager Resource Protection and Management, Leigh Murray, said.
“Because of the location of the carcasses, we believe that they have been intentionally destroyed, possibly shot,” Mr Murray said.
“Last year we located eight eagles within a 25-metre 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 new born 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’s Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 300 000.
By working with the Victorian community, DELWP works to reduce the impacts of environmental crime to ensure future generations can enjoy native plants and animals.
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