Seven eagles near death after eating horse carcass

eagle

flying-eagle-1KSN.com / March 26, 2013

SEATTLE, Washington (KING) — Sharon Thomas couldn’t believe what she saw when she took a walk on her property near Winlock, Washington last Friday.
“I got the binoculars, was unable to tell what it was,’ she said. She found one of what turned out to be seven beautiful bald eagles all near death. “We didn’t realize what the culprit was, why they were so sick,” she said. “It was heart wrenching, wanting them to open their eyes and stay breathing so we could get them to the people who could help us.”
A worker with Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue in Olympia brought the eagles to West Sound Wildlife Center, where a team of 15 volunteers have been working on the birds for days. They were all in critical condition. Some of the eagles were vomiting and convulsing while the most critical were unconscious and unresponsive. The volunteer vets managed to save all of the birds at least for now.
“It’s miraculous that they’re even here,” said Dr. Alicia Bye.
“Miraclulous” because the eagles had likely eaten enough poison to kill a horse.
Workers at West Sound Wildlife Center believe the eagles ate meat from two dead horses that had been euthanized with a strong poison called pentobarbital sodium. It appears, however, those horses had not been properly disposed of, and were left to rot where other animals could eat them.
Just a few more bites would’ve killed the eagles, said Dr. Bye, and other animals, as well. “All animals will scavenge.  That includes your dog, my dog, cats and birds of prey.”
Two of the birds remain in critical condition. One is still unable to stand. They are all quite young, just two or three years old. They don’t even have the telltale white feathers on their heads yet.
“What’s so sad is that this was completely avoidable,” said Mike Pratt, the Shelter’s director of wildlife services.
Because bald eagles are a protected species, federal wildlife authorities are now investigating this case. If a horse owner is responsible for the birds getting sick he could face a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.
Two of the birds are recovering well and could be released within the next 48 hours. Others, however, are given about a 50-50 chance of survival.
“We could’ve lost them all,” said Sharon Thomas.  “And who’s to say how many more have been affected?”

 

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
7 Comments
  • Louise Ouellet

    What’s wrong with digging a hole and bury the horses? If one cannot burry them put something on the carcass that other animals would not want to eat from it. Like lime.

    March 26, 2013
  • Debra Gordon

    My hope, and I am truly sorry this happened, is that all of the birds will survive and thrive, but that it doesn’t change the fact that horse slaughter is not an option. The owner was negligent, but not everyone will be this stupid, and ignorant of what they are doing by not burying or otherwise disposing of the dead bodies. Good on them for euthanizing their ailing animals, though.

    March 26, 2013
  • janwindsong

    Irresponsible ownership – bottom line.

    March 26, 2013
  • Valerie Wehmueller

    That’s why responsible horse owners have the bodies properly disposed of, either buried, cremated, or otherwise removed. No excuse for anyone to put them down, & just leave them! Unless, a larger scavenger, like a wolf, mountain lion, or even a bear, dug it up!?

    March 26, 2013
  • That is so disgusting, to dispose of the carcasses improperly where animals could get access to them.

    March 26, 2013
  • Daryl

    How wonderful this lady found them, adn got them help, sad the horse owner did not do the right thing for the horses and get them deeper in the ground. What they are saying is very steep price to pay for some one who was not trying to kill any thing. Some laws are not fair other laws let people get away with any thing.

    March 26, 2013
  • Jade

    Humans and their arrogance are the most destructive “animal” on this planet. Prayers and smoke going up for those still trying to pull through this!

    March 26, 2013