TIMI GIDAL PHOTO The eagle was sent to MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre

Hikers attempt to rescue distressed eagle

The eagle was sent to MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre

A few hikers were hiking Ledge Point in Port McNeill when they stumbled upon an injured eagle and attempted to save its life.

“The dogs discovered it first,” said Pete Rice, who was out hiking with the North Island Hiking Club on Sunday, Nov. 21 when he found the eagle. “It, didn’t have any obvious injuries, but it couldn’t fly and it had low energy levels and was shaking,” said Rice.

He said it was a full-grown eagle, and although he couldn’t see what was wrong with it, he thought it needed some help. Rice said he wrapped the eagle in his rain jacket to move it and place it on a high stump so the ground animals couldn’t get to it.

“After we finished the hike I came back to check on it and it was still in the same spot,” said Rice, adding “So I brought him down to my truck and phoned the vet clinic.”

This wasn’t a strange situation for Rice, as this is actually the third eagle he’s rescued. “I’m a fishing guide and I do wildlife tours so I am around animals all the time,” said Rice, who owns a business called Wahpeeto Creek Wildlife Consulting. “Just last month I rescued a cow elk that was trapped in mud in the interior,” he added.

Rice said a veterinarian came out to look at the eagle and agreed it was in distress and discussed contacting MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre.

“We contact MARS and they arranged pick up for the eagle Monday Morning,” said Dr. Melissa Knowles of the North Island Veterinary Hospital. “They did X-rays on the eagle and found a metallic object either in its stomach or crop,” said Knowles, adding, “they could also see signs of pneumonia, which they suspect was from being submerged in sea water for a lengthy period of time.”

Knowles said that unfortunately the eagle wasn’t able to survive its injuries and died Wednesday night.

Rice advised hikers who come across a distressed eagle to immediately contact someone who is experienced with wildlife like the North Island Veterinary Hospital or MARS, whose Wildlife Rescue Centre’s Emergency line is (250) 897-2257.

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JANET DORWARD PHOTO Hikers from the North Island Hiking Club found the eagle on Nov. 21

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