A bald eagle rescued from the side of Highway 97 last week was suffering from lead poisoning.
Conservation Officer Joel Kline said blood tests revealed the diagnosis. The bird is now on medication and is recovering at ta rehabilitation facility in Delta.
“It’s very common for eagles because of all the scavenging they do,” Kline said. “They’ve got the eagle on medication to reverse some of the effects of the lead poisoning.”
The eagle is being closely monitored but “he’s alive and well,” Kline said.
A motorist had picked up the eagle from the side of Highway 97 last Thursday, thinking it was dead and planning to take it to the local conservation office in 100 Mile House. He got a huge fright when it started flapping in the back of his van.
“It scared the life out of him,” RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen said at the time.
The driver immediately pulled into the RCMP detachment and met an officer coming on duty, who carefully looked into the van, took some photos of the bird and contacted Kline. Kline retrieved the bird and placed it into a kennel. It was chcked by a veterinarian before being airlifted to a rehabilitation facility in the Lower Mainland.
Kline said he expects the eagle will remain in the rehab centre for a few more weeks before he can be released in the South Cariboo. “Once he’s all good to go and has a clear bill of health he’ll be sent back up here,” he said.
The RCMP remind the public to be cautious about approaching any wild animal that appears deceased on the highway.
Contact the Conservation Office hotline at 1-877-855-3222 or contact the local RCMP Detachment prior to approaching the animal.