Veterinary technicians at VCA Canada Island Animal Hospital treat two bald eagles after a spate of poisonings in North Cowichan this past week. (Submitted)

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

A dozen poisoned bald eagles have been found in the Cowichan Valley since Wednesday, and rescuers are hoping to find any other sick birds, as well as the source of the poisoning.

“It’s pretty disturbing, finding so many sick and dead eagles,” said The Raptors general manager Robyn Radcliffe, who has been part of the search for the ailing animals.

Two eagles were brought in on Wednesday from the same location, although they were found at different times. Poisoning wasn’t suspected initially, but after the birds were taken to a veterinarian in Nanaimo, that was determined to be the cause.

Another call came in on Saturday from a conservation officer who had located two more birds — one dead and one sick — in a similar spot, so a search was undertaken that uncovered another eight eagles in various states of health.

Of the 12 poisoned eagles, six came in alive and are likely to survive, while the other six were already dead.

The birds have been found in the Herd Road area of North Cowichan, and an investigation is underway by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. It seems likely, Radcliffe said, that the eagles were not intentionally poisoned, but probably fed off the carcass of a euthanized farm animal that wasn’t properly disposed of.

“If a bird eats an animal that has been euthanized, it will kill it pretty quick,” she said.

Proper disposal of euthanized animals is covered by law, but best practices are that they should be buried at least six feet deep so scavengers can’t eat the poisoned remains, Radcliffe said.

“We need to be really aware of what’s going out in the environment,” she commented. “Bald eagles are an indicator species. That’s why this shows up in them.”

It’s not unusual for many birds to feed off the same carcass, Radcliffe pointed out.

“A dead deer could have 10 to 40 eagles feeding off it, in addition to ravens and vultures in the spring and summer.”

Heading out on another search on Sunday morning, Radcliffe was optimistic that most of the victims had already been located. Anyone who finds a dead or sick eagle should contact the Raptor Rescue Society at 778-936-0732.

Just Posted

VIDEO: CVRD already hard at work on climate change issues, Morrison tells One Cowichan

‘Not only is our rubber on the road, we’re up to speed!’ CVRD chair answers climate action critics

Mary Lowther column: Your plants need to feed, too, as they produce your food

Growing plants require extra nutrients beyond what they begin with when sown or planted.

VIDEO: Province agrees to fund investigation of new bypass road for Lake Cowichan

Province won’t build the road but is ready to start the ball rolling by paying for the first step

Business notes: New owners celebrate at Arbutus Ridge Golf Course

The award-winning Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill has a new… Continue reading

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Most Read