Free food is costly

Four eagles died in a one-month period after they were fed by members of the public on North Vancouver Island.

  • Apr. 21, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Four eagles died in a one-month period after they were fed by members of the public.

“People are purposely leaving food out to feed the eagles,” said Conservation Officer Tim Schumacher.

Two eagles died when two separate businesses left out food scraps.

“One eagle was hit by a car in Port Hardy while it was feeding on scraps left out by employees of a Port Hardy business,” said Schumacher. “Another eagle flew into power lines while fighting over food scraps left out by another Port Hardy business.”

Schumacher said both businesses have since stopped the practice.

Another eagle was hit by a car on the Coal Harbour Road while feeding on four salmon carcasses in the ditch. And another eagle was hit by a car on Bear Cove Highway while feeding on a plastic bag of raw hamburger on the roadside, said Schumacher.

Schumacher said eagles are put at risk when they are fed because they become human-food conditioned and can starve to death or are euthanized when they are injured or become a safety risk in the community.

And with spring’s arrival, Schumacher is reminding residents to secure their garbage and other attractants against bears.

“The Conservation Office Service is still doing work to encourage people to secure their garbage,” said Schumacher. There is a $575 fine for failing to comply with an order to secure attractants.