Bald eagles are dying rapidly and it is like nobody cares! These wonderful birds need help now more than ever before!
When a bald eagle came to a wildlife rehabilitation center late last month, he was paralyzed and could not even hold his head up. People had to carry this motionless poor bird. His head was resting on his wing. Rescuers rushed to cleanse his blood of the poison that was slowly killing him. This actually happens to bald eagles all the time. And Lynn Tompkins, the executive director of Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Oregon, is trying to save them for the last 30 years.
“His head was upside down when we first got him,” Tompkins says. “Lead affects the nerves, so that is your brain, your use of muscles, basically all parts of the body. These birds often cannot even stand and they usually have difficulty breathing. The poor birds can not even open their beaks”.
The lead gets into the bodies of the bald eagles — as well as owls and other kinds of birds after they eat the dead animals that were shot by hunters who use lead bullets. “They can eat animals that were shot. Lead ammunition is the biggest source of this poison”.
As Tompkins’ latest bird patient was struggling for his life, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, was actually overturning a ban on the use of lead ammunition in wildlife refuges. The ban should help to save the animals, including the iconic American bald eagle. Zinke actually argued that the interests of hunters were not sufficiently represented in the ban.
Sadly, the latest bald eagle who came into this center never had a chance to fly freely once again. After four days of treatments to clean the lead out of his bloodstream, he passed away. “This particular bird, every once in a while, flap his wing out of fear, and then he would just stop,” Tompkins remembers. “The treatment can not reach the lead that is already far into the other tissues!