Wildlife service has recovered the bodies of another two white-tailed sea eagles in west Cork and south Kerry. Since 2011 26 of these protected birds have been found dead, 12 of these were poisoned.

These birds are a protected species under law. As part of a reintroduction programme 100 were released in Killarney National Park, between 2007 and 2011.

Project Manager of the White-tailed Eagle Reintroduction Programme Dr Allan Mee expressed his disappointment.

He believes the poison that killed the bird was illegally laid out to kill crows and foxes.

Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland’s Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, told the Irish Times "The poisoning of an eagle in County Cork is very serious. Eagles are protected by law, they are majestic birds of prey, and their reintroduction to Ireland is an important and very worthwhile project. My department is providing any assistance it can to the gardaí [police] in the investigation of this matter."

Authorities have confirmed that one of the dead birds was poisoned and it is believed that second bird suffered the same cause of death. The bird had been fitted with electronic tracking device.

The first bird was a female and was released in Killarney in August 2010. She spent much of last year in south Kerry, moving to the Beara Peninsula, between Adrigole and Glengarriff in west Cork last December.

The bird was found washed up near Glengarriff two weeks ago. A post mortem was carried out at the State Laboratory at Celbridge. It showed the bird was poisoned and it is believed the bird died from eating some form of meat.

The second bird was found at Derrynane, in south Kerry, earlier this week. Although not confirmed it believed that this bird suffered a similar death.

Mee believes a number of pairs could be expected to breed this year. He appealed for vigilance and protection for the birds.

"As we are no longer releasing birds into the wild it is vital that we now start producing our own chicks in the wild to replace any birds that are lost and maintain the population,” he said.

“We are hoping that this year will be a milestone for the reintroduction project."

White-tailed eagle in flightRTE