Tina Hein of the Raptor Rescue Society holds an eagle that was rescued after it ate poisoned meat on the weekend. The bird is one of several that were being released from care at Island Veterinary Hospital on Tuesday morning. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Ten poisoned eagles rushed to veterinary hospital in Nanaimo

Eagles stricken after eating flesh of euthanized animal at Nanaimo Regional Landfill

Quick work to reverse the effects of euthanasia drugs saved the lives of several eagles on Vancouver Island this week.

Veterinarian Ken Langelier and his staff at Island Veterinary Hospital were busy preparing several eagles for release and recovery Tuesday. The birds became ill after they consumed large amounts of meat from the carcass of a deceased animal at the Nanaimo Regional Landfill.

The first bird was rushed to the clinic Sunday.

“I got a call from the Pacific Northwest Raptors, they do the bird abatement [at the landfill] to keep the birds under control, and they’d noticed an eagle had gone from standing to laying down and brought it in,” Langelier said. “The very first thing I noticed is it had low body temperature and was very unconscious. They thought it might have died.”

The bird had a slow heart rate and low blood pressure, but was still alive. Clinic staff emptied the bird’s crop and stomach contents and warmed it up. As Langelier worked to save that bird, several more were found and rushed in for treatment.

“A couple of birds we put on antibiotics because we thought they might have aspirated something,” Langelier said. “So it was mostly just keeping them alive by symptomatic treatment.”

One of the nine birds brought in to the clinic developed aspirated pneumonia and died. A tenth bird found ill was being brought into the clinic Tuesday morning.

“Everybody loves eagles, even the people at the landfill, and they’ve done a lot to help out, not only in this situation but any time there’s anything that they can see,” Langelier said.

He said, judging from the birds’ stomach and crop contents, it appeared the meat might have come from a pig that had been euthanized. Sodium pentobarbital, the drug used to carry out animal euthanasia, remains in the carcass at toxic levels, so euthanized animals must be buried or cremated to prevent contact with scavengers.

“The landfill wasn’t aware that an animal had been brought in that was that was euthanized,” Langelier said. “If people would just tell them, they have a special area that they use and they bury them immediately so there is no possible animal exposure.”

Tissue samples were taken from the consumed meat to determine what kind of animal it was, where it might have come from and possibly even find out who brought it to the landfill. Poisoning wildlife can result in criminal charges.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Langelier has treated previous eagle poisonings; the biggest was in 1988 involving nearly 30 birds. There were two separate poisoning incidents in 2019.

“It’s unfortunate [and] shouldn’t happen at all,” he said.

North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington is helping with the recovery and release of the birds, three of which will need ongoing care at the centre. Four birds will be released right away and possibly two of the birds will receive ongoing care with the Raptor Rescue Society in Duncan.

READ ALSO: Top 10 most-memorable animal stories of 2019



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Wildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Tina Hein of the Raptor Rescue Society and Ken Langelier, veterinarian, prepare to feed a young eagle prior to releasing it from its stay at Island Veterinary Hospital on Tuesday morning. It was one of 10 eagles that were stricken after eating poisoned meat on the weekend. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Just Posted

Vehicle goes up in smoke in Kelowna garage

Fire department on-scene in 200 block of Poplar Point Drive near Knox Mountain

COSAR rescues two lost hikers from Okanagan Mountain Park

Two male hikers were overdue from a hike they left for on the morning of March 28

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery has ceased spirits operations and has produced over 3,000 litres of sanitizer since March 26

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

Okanagan women spending quarantine making masks

Group at Predator Ridge, and a colleague in Vernon, keeping busy making surgical masks for others

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Second million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Okanagan

Twice, in less than a month, somebody won Guaranteed Match Number prize with ticket bought in Vernon

Most Read