Bad habits from the public have contributed to a number of eagles becoming injured on Haida Gwaii in the past month.
Four bald eagles have had to be sent to the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) in Ladner for treatment after succumbing to a number of injuries. All four suffered their injuries in the Masset area.
Leila Riddall of the Animal Helpline in Masset says that all the eagles were hurt in one general area of the community that is well known for being a dumping ground for waste that attracts the bird. People offering food to eagles in hopes of seeing them or grabbing a picture are also contributing to the problem.
The first eagle was injured on July 5 after attempting to scavenge in an area where fish and deer carcasses are often dumped. It was electrocuted attempting to reach the remains. On July 30 a second eagle was electrocuted in the same area.
August 4 saw a case of lead poisoning after an eagle ate tainted garbage, while five days later an eagle was discovered with a fractured ulna and radius, possibly from being hit by a car.
In addition one of the eagles contracted avian pox, as a result of contact with bugs that fester in disposed carcasses.
All four eagles are now recovering at the OWL facility. Riddall hopes that the eagles’ suffering will not go in vain, and that seeing the injured eagles will encourage people to change their behaviour when it comes to the birds.
Alex Kurial | Journalist
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