WATCH: More than ten bald eagles have been found poisoned in the Cowichan Valley. Six have already died and the rest are critical. Sunday, rescuers were out searching along a river where several were found. As Luisa Alvarez tells us, they suspect there could be more on the verge of dying.
A juvenile bald eagle recovering at the Raptors Rescue Society in Duncan is lucky to be alive. He was one of two found poisoned in the Cowichan Valley Wednesday. But sadly others weren’t so fortunate.
“It was all in the same area we recognize this was probably a fairly significant incident so we launched a search party and we found [Saturday] in total we had six dead eagles and four barely alive eagles,” said Robyn Radcliffe, the executive director Raptor Rescue Society.
The eagles that were found alive are in the care of Island Vet Clinic in Nanaimo and thankfully their prognosis is good.
“The fact that we were able to save six of them is great so we feel pretty great about that but wish we could have helped more of them,” said Radcliffe.
Seven of the eagles were found along a river near Herd Road and fearing more could be out there rescuers were back out on the water searching.
“With poisoning symptoms, the eagles are looking almost drunk you could say so they are sort of wobbling. We found one of them on her back just really sick you will often see neurological symptoms,” said Radcliffe.
Radcliffe says they don’t believe the poisoning is intentional. There is a high density of bald eagles in the area and because of the sheer number that have been affected, they suspect they’re getting sick from feeding on the same food source.
“In this case, we suspect that it was a farm animal that was probably euthanized and not disposed of correctly,” said Radcliffe.
Anyone in the Cowichan Valley who spots sleepy, ‘drunken’, or dead bald eagles is asked to call the Raptor Rescue Society at 778-936-0732.
“We wish we had a better idea of this on Wednesday we could have saved a couple more… its hard to know what exact poisoning this is… there are various ways this poisoning could have gotten in.
“It’s an important opportunity for everybody to be aware of what we are putting out into the environment… euthanized animals too, need to be disposed of properly… It’s a good opportunity for us to learn from this,” added Radcliffe.
Tests are being run on the six dead eagles to help with the investigation as to why they died.