Victorian farmers worried about wedge-tailed eagles killing their livestock should deal with the problem legally, an agricultural group has warned, after more than 130 of the birds were slain in the state's east.
The carcasses of 136 wedge-tailed eagles and four other protected bird species were recently found hidden as environment department investigators combed 2000 hectares of bushland and scrub on rural East Gippsland properties.
The issue has spurred the Victorian Farmers Federation to urge landholders to avoid illegal methods, such as poisoning, if they are suffering from an influx of the birds.
Federation livestock president Leonard Vallance said the eagles can kill a lamb each day but farmers can request a legal permit to shoot the birds if they are an issue.
"The avenue is there," Mr Vallance told AAP on Wednesday.
More of the eagles have been coming to Victoria due to drought conditions in parts of NSW and like other animals that kill livestock they can cause farmers distress, Mr Vallance said.
"What farmers find is injured lambs, half-dead lambs, half-eaten lambs.
"It's not a pleasant death for the lamb, it's fairly horrific."
Farmers typically might have to deal with one or two of the birds but to hear of more than 100 killed is very uncommon, Mr Vallance added.
"I've never heard of anyone killing that many eagles ever before, maybe two or three, that's it."
The environment department said it is throwing its full weight behind the "devastating" case, which has sparked community outrage.
"This is the biggest case of wedge-tailed eagle deaths that we've ever seen," investigations manager Iain Bruce said.
The department has not confirmed how the birds died but said the scale of the deaths and scattered nature of the carcasses shows the killings were intentional.
One person is assisting with the investigation.
Australian Associated Press