THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Robyn Radcliffe
DUNCAN, B.C. — Animal experts say no more bald eagles have been found since 12 sick or dying birds were taken in for care on southern Vancouver Island.
Robyn Radcliffe, the executive director of the Raptor Rescue Society, says it is suspected all the birds fed on a carcass that had been improperly disposed of after being euthanized on a farm near Duncan, B.C.
Six eagles died and the other six were disoriented and unable to fly when they were found, but Radcliffe says all the survivors are recovering and will likely be released in the next few weeks.
Euthanized farm animals must be buried to ensure the remains don't contaminate the environment or poison other animals, and Radcliffe says the case is being investigated by the Conservation Officer Service.
The suspected source of the carcass has been identified, so Radcliffe says she can't comment further, but adds that she's pleased it means there likely won't be any further problems for the area's eagle population.
She says the poisoning was likely due to ignorance and was not intentional.
"It's a learning opportunity for everybody involved to remember that it's so important for us to be considering what we are putting in the environment for all our wildlife," Radcliffe says in an interview.
The sick eagles included juveniles and adults, and Radcliffe says help came just in time for some of them.
"Three of the four that we picked up on Saturday ... I didn't think they would make it to the clinic."
She said they found a female bird on her back and thought it was dead, but she opened her eyes and is now recovering.
"We're so thrilled that they are doing well," says Radcliffe.