Sunday, March 24, the staff and volunteers of West Sound Wildlife responded to an emergency call from Stephanie Estrella of Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue regarding six critically ill bald eagles. The eagles were located in Winlock, Washington. They were feeding off of two horse carcasses that had been euthanized on March 20 and left in a field, exposed to wildlife. The potent drug Euthasol, or pentobarbital sodium, is utilized by veterinarians for painless and rapid euthanasia. The pentobarbital that killed the horses quickly ravaged the eagles.
Currently it is unknown if more animals were exposed to the poison. Coyotes, raccoons, owls, turkey vultures, and eagles, along with countless other species, are native to the area. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating.
All six of the eagles were alive when they reached the Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue in Olympia. After taking in the eagles, Estrella quickly contacted Mike Pratt, Director of Wildlife Services for West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island, and the birds were transported to West Sound.
When the eagles arrived they were in critical condition and required life-saving measures. Some were vomiting and convulsing, while the most critical were unconscious and unresponsive. The small staff of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, along with Dr. Charles Crawford of Compassionate Critter Care and Dr. Alicia Bye, worked around the clock administering Toxiban, which is activated charcoal, to counteract the effects of the poison. A dozen volunteers provided emergency supportive care.
Two of the eagles remain in critical condition, two are in stable but guarded condition, and two are in recovery. The Shelter’s staff is closely monitoring the birds. The cost of this care for each 24-hour period is estimated to be over $3,000.
West Sound was notified today, March 25, that a seventh poisoned eagle was discovered and transported to The Portland Audubon for treatment.
If you would to support the care of these eagles and the over 1,000 other raptors, birds, and mammals the Shelter will treat this year, you can make a donation at www.westsoundwildlfe.org.
West Sound Wildlife Shelter holds its most important fundraising event, The Call to the Wild Auction, this year on April 20. For more information, visit their website or call Lisa Horn or Elsa Watson at 206-855-9057.
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Photos courtesy of Dottie Tison.