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

COVID19: 94th Williams Lake Stampede officially cancelled for 2020 due to pandemic

Stampede directors hope to host a community event in the fall if possible

VIDEO: Big Lake Elementary School staff and student enjoy drive by

Principal Holly Zurak enjoyed putting together a video

Williams Lake movie theatre popcorn sale event to see 100 per cent proceeds for Salvation Army

‘People are missing their movie popcorn,’: Paradise Cinemas owner David Hothi

COVID-19: Williams Lake eyes possible relief measures for businesses

Staff will draft a bylaw and write a letter to the provincial government about tax relief

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

132,000 B.C. jobs lost just the start of COVID-19 impact, finance minister says

B.C.’s latest employment figures for March show 7.2% increase

B.C. asking companies to contribute through online COVID-19 supply hub

New platform to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says

People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

Widespread job losses and more homelessness due to physical distancing at shelters have added hurdles

Most Read