Six eagles dead from poisoning on Vancouver Island
Published Monday, January 21, 2019 8:46AM PST Last Updated Monday, January 21, 2019 11:38AM PST
Warning: This story contains graphic images.
At least a dozen eagles have been poisoned on southern Vancouver Island.
So far, six have died and the other six have been treated by an emergency veterinarian in Nanaimo.
Staff at the VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital been working for hours, giving the raptors IV fluids, and activated charcoal to combat the poison.
They say it has also been important to keep the animals warm as the poison causes them to lose body temperature.
The eagles appear slow and droopy, even confused, and not all of them are out of the woods yet.
“Unfortunately, of the 12 birds, six were found dead and the ones found alive were barely alive. These ones, it’s been almost 24 hours, and they’re really just starting to wake up,” said Dr. Ken Langelier.
But every minute that goes by it is looking more and more hopeful.
Langelier said if it wasn’t for The Raptors Rescue Society, none of the eagles would have made it this far.
The rescue was called Wednesday about two sick birds found in the Lake Cowichan area.
They picked up the birds and reported it to conservation officers.
It wasn’t until Saturday that the extent of the problem became evident, when another call led staff to two more eagles.
One of them was sick, the other was dead.
That’s when staff and volunteers went into high gear, searching the area by land and water they found more survivors, which they rushed to Dr. Langelier.
They also found more bodies.
“Obviously it’s very concerning for bird lovers, going out there and finding dead eagles, and sick eagles, it’s tough to see. We were very happy that we were able to rescue and help six of them, just wish we could have helped more,” said Robyn Radcliffe, Executive Director of the Raptor Rescue Society.
It is not believed the eagles were intentionally harmed.
Eagles are scavengers, and several will feed off the same carcass, so the most likely scenario is that someone euthanized a farm animal and then did not dispose of the body properly.
“I’m sure it’s accidental. People are not intentionally poisoning these eagles, it was probably someone that wasn’t aware of the impact it has on some animals,” said Radcliffe.
Langelier was still frustrated humans caused the problem and he was saddened by the eagles which weren’t saved.
“The fact the other six, they could have been saved if the poison was removed is always disturbing,” he said.
There are also worries there could still be more sick birds out there.
It is hoped that it is a wake-up call, to make people more aware of the damage they could be causing to wildlife by being careless.
The recovering eagles should be released within a week or two.
Offers to help have been pouring in and Radcliffe said it has been heartening to find out how much everyone cares.
“In general, we are animal lovers and we don’t like to see them in distress or hurt, so a lot of people are pretty upset about this.”