A COLAC district man says he is “shocked and disgusted” at the killing of a wedge-tail eagle near his property.
Cororooke’s Andrew Beale said his son Elliot and his partner Tanya Wilson discovered the protected bird’s carcass on the side of Bullock Swamp Road, Cororooke.
Mr Beale said he believed a human had killed the bird and authorities are investigating the eagle’s death.
Killing, harming or interfering with a wedge-tail eagle, Australia’s largest bird of prey with a wing span up to 2.5 metres, can result in fines of up to $11,000 or six months in prison.
Mr Beale said Elliot and Ms Wilson saw the eagle alive and feeding on a calf carcass 15 minutes before finding the bird dead on Monday morning.
“There was a calf that was dead and it was left out on the side of the road to be picked up for the knackery,” he said.
“My son was driving along the road and saw a big wedge-tailed eagle sitting on the calf and feeding on it,” Mr Beale said.
He said his son and Ms Wilson returned 15 minutes later and the eagle was dead.
Mr Beale said he initially thought someone had shot the eagle but he couldn’t see any bullet wounds.
“It was either hit across the back of the head or it’s still possible it was shot,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anyone kill a wedge-tailed eagle before – I was shocked and disgusted,” Mr Beale said.
“And obviously Elliot and Tanya were both distraught by what they saw as well.”
Mr Beale said he reported the killing to the Department of Sustainability and Environment after speaking to police and the RSPCA.
He said DSE officers went to his property yesterday and took the dead eagle away.
Mr Beale said the officers believed the bird died from a head injury and a motor vehicle would probably not have caused its injury.
DSE south-west compliance program manager Mark Breguet said the department would investigate the killing.
“DSE has received a report that a wedge-tailed eagle was killed near Cororooke and will investigate,” Mr Breguet said.
“Wedge-tailed eagles are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975,” he said.
“There are penalties of large fines and or jail for those found guilty of harming or killing protected wildlife.”
Mr Beale said he regularly saw what he believed was a family of wedge-tail eagles at his property. He said he had never seen one fly towards or near a moving vehicle.