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

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Castlegar and Trail Chevron offering free gas for front line workers

Health care, fire, police, paramedics included in offer

Grand Forks distillery shifts to make sanitizer

How a Grand Forks distillery is stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic

Trail arts council hopeful for show-filled season come fall

Cancelled events include Sunday Cinema, Silver City Days, and family shows

Man launches West Kootenay shuttle service for those in need

Business owner Mike Sherwood said he’s been getting ten call requests a day from people

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

COVID-19 case confirmed at restaurant in Cache Creek: Interior Health

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

First COVID-19 outbreak in Interior Health identified at Okanagan agricultural business; 14 cases confirmed

75 workers are in isolation — 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read