A red kite has been deliberately poisoned in County Down.
The dead animal was found a month ago beside a rabbit's carcass which had been laced with illegal poison.
Robert Straughan, the RSPB's Red Kite Officer, said the bird had been released as part of the RSPB's 2008 red kite reintroduction programme.
Mr Straughan said the bird was less than six months old and was the second to have recently been poisoned with alphachloralose.
So far, five red kites have died since the programme was launched in July 2008.
The three-year reintroduction project released 80 red kites, which should be enough to establish the bird as a thriving breeding population.
"It is very sad when we do lose a bird, especially if it is to something which is preventable," Mr Straughan said.
"They were extinct for almost 200 years in Northern Ireland due to persecution.
"There has been tremendous support for them since the first release last year and we hope that people do all they can to ensure that they can re-establish themselves here again."
Police have appealed for anyone with information concerning the incident to contact them.