A frightening trend is emerging for wildlife rescuers on the Mid Island where seven injured, shot or poisoned eagles have been found in just the past week.
Thursday a bald eagle that was found shot and on the verge of dying went into surgery in Nanaimo in hopes of saving it. And rescuers wonder if there are more out there in similar need.
It’s wild instinct is still intact, but the Bald eagle found shot and near death on a logging road outside Nanaimo is in bad shape.
“From being shot by a high powered rifle,” says Dr. Ken Langelier from Island Veterinary Hospital where the eagle is being treated.
His best chance now, is Veterinarian Ken Langelier who’s prepping to go into surgery to save him.
“We’ll have an idea while we’re doing surgery but we really won’t know until the long term when we see if we get the mobility back in the joints,” says Langelier.
This is his latest patient in an influx of eagles, as wildlife rescuers rush from call after call to a total of seven shot, poisoned, or injured eagles between Nanaimo and Duncan this week.
“Most of them have had to be euthanized and that’s just you know very depressing. They didn’t stand a chance,” says Langelier.
“The most alarming thing out of these cases is that there has been two shot in the last week and one with lead poisoning ingested,” says Robyn Radcliffe of the Raptor Rescue Network and the Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre in Duncan.
“It definitely is a lot more than normal to see so many within a week and I just hope that there’s not someone out there who’s decided that eagles are a target,” says Langelier.
The lead poisoning, likely came from it feeding on an animal killed by lead bullets. So rescuers are reminding hunters to check carcasses thoroughly before discarding them, and as for the shootings they happened in different communities so several people appear to be behind the injuries to the birds, that were spotted by residents who’s call ultimately saved them.
“Which is amazing but how many birds are we not seeing that are out there I mean a lot of these cases have been found on logging roads and backroads and we probably miss quite a number of them yeah,” says Radcliffe.
So rescuers are thankful to the public for keeping watch out there. The birds that survive will go through lengthy rehabilitation before their rescuers hope they’ll eventually be returned safe and sound to the wild.