Bald Eagle dies from lead poisoning

Posted at 10:08 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 10:08:10-05

FAYETTE COUNTY, IA ( KWWL/CNN) - Wildlife rehabilitators in Iowa are finding Bald Eagles too sick for them to save, largely because of bullets from hunters.

The birds aren't being shot, they are being poisoned.

During Thanksgiving weekend Terese Evans and the Black Hawk Wildlife Rehab Project tried saving an eagle, but it was too sick.

"It can take from days to weeks for them to go down with lead poisoning and it's not a pleasant death," said Evans.

This month in Fayette County, Evans found another eagle, also suffering from lead poisoning.

"Just thin and just not looking well. It had the droopy wings,” said Evans. “It would not fly when approached. In fact, dogs were bothering it and it wouldn't fly away."

For days the team worked on returning the eagle back to health.

"By day 2 the eagle was standing up on her perch, she was keeping everything down, she was very feisty,” said Evans.

Sadly, the eagle took a turn for the worse, dying on day 10.

"It's heartbreaking to see one go down and knowing that it is something preventable,” said Evans.

Eagles often eat dead animals that hunters shoot.

"It only takes a grain of rice size to kill an adult bald eagle," said Evans.

According to Evans, if hunters stopped using lead bullets, deaths like this could be prevented, but she said they are not giving up.

Lead poisoning does not just impact Bald Eagles.

Experts said more than 50 other animals in the area are susceptible to it.

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