Photo from the Raptors Rescue Society Facebook page.
The BC Conservation Officer Service believes they have located the source that led to the discovery of a dozen dead, or sick, Bald Eagles.
Sargent Scott Norris said they were called in to investigate last week when some Bald Eagles were found in the Herd Road area of North Cowichan.
“We believe we may have the source that caused the issues with the sick eagles. We are essentially getting the pieces that we have tested, and, some of the eagles that we have, we will get those tested. We will try to determine if the two match and that will tell us a lot about what happened. At this point we don’t have a lot more that we can share. We are investigating. We want to do a very thorough job in the investigation. It’s something we don’t take lightly.”
Norris won’t confirm allegations that it was a euthanized farm animal whose remains were not properly disposed of that led to the sick or dead eagles.
“No, I’m not going to confirm anything at this point right now. I want to just confirm basically, we have some pieces of something that we believe may be linked. Once we’ve done that we will have a clearer picture of what happened.”
Six Bald Eagles are being treated at a Nanaimo veterinary clinic and the prognosis for four of them is good.
Birds found alive need to have their crop contents emptied, be kept warm and given activated charcoal and intravenous fluids.
If you see an eagle that appears sick, or find a dead one, you are asked to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
Eagles are sick and dying on the North Island too, but no one quite knows why.
MARS Wildlife Rescue rehabilitator Brenna Lerch says the centre is receiving sick eagles but some of them pass away before they can be tested.
She says one of the dead eagles did test positive for lead poisoning.
“It can come from a couple different places. One is when a hunter shoots an animal and the bullet fragments into the body of the animal that they’ve killed and then here comes along a raptor and eats some of the meat. It might ingest some of the fragments.”
Lerch says there’s also a parasite that’s linked to urban pigeons that have been killing eagles.
Eagles get infected when they eat pigeons carrying the parasite trichomoniasis.
Their throats swell and they’ll die from starvation or suffocation.
Lerch said since the birds are coming from many places, it is difficult to tell what exactly is killing them.