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

Aftershock soccer tournament takes over Port Hardy fields

Around the clock matches were played in divisions ranging from tots to U18.

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s 2018-2019 graduating class

The Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre is located on the Tsulquate reserve in the North Island.

Skin deep: A look inside the ink behind Beacon Tattoo

Patrick Berube, owner of Beacon Tattoo, spends most of his Tuesdays at… Continue reading

Second recreational cannabis shop opens its doors in Port Hardy

Pacificanna owner Darren Saunders was excited to finally see his family-run business open up shop.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: A lone crow landing beside an eagle

“I saw an eagle just sitting there, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be there long as I got closer”

VIDEO: Clip of driver speeding past B.C. school bus alarms MLA

Laurie Throness of Chilliwack-Kent says he will lobby for better safety measures

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Most Read