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

Oceanside RCMP now offering online crime reporting

Tool available in certain circumstances

Snow falls in Errington on April 1 (no fooling)

Snow doesn’t stick, but more may come on Friday

Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer notes provincial health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Introverted and extroverted kids going to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Overall messaging is up more than 50 per cent over the last month

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Controversial Cowichan tiny house still in place after removal deadline

Cowichan Valley Regional District had ordered it removed by March 15

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

COVID-19: List of postponed/cancelled events in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Send your organization’s updates to editor@pqbnews.com

Most Read