A female bald eagle suffering from lead poisoning found at Shelter Point Distillery is currently receiving treatment at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS). Screenshot/Shelter Point TikTok

A female bald eagle suffering from lead poisoning found at Shelter Point Distillery is currently receiving treatment at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS). Screenshot/Shelter Point TikTok

Eagle rescued at Shelter Point Distillery was suffering from lead poisoning

The eagle’s recovery is currently “touch and go”

A female bald eagle suffering from lead poisoning found at Shelter Point Distillery is currently receiving treatment at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).

On Feb. 19, MARS received the eagle that has high blood poisoning, said Gylaine Andersen, manager of wildlife rehabilitation with the Merville-based organizations that helps orphaned, ill or injured birds and wildlife.

“She was very weak, but we have seen a little bit of improvement since she came in.”

Andersen noted MARS performed a blood test once they received the eagle in their care. In this case, the reading came back high for lead poisoning and began a calcium treatment via injection into her muscle. The organization is expecting to do several rounds of treatment on the eagle.

“The goal is to see a full recovery; we are quite guarded but we would like her to be released,” said Anderson. “In some cases, (lead poisoning) can cause chronic problems with organs. In this case, we think it’s acute.”

Late last year, MARS received an eagle that staff immediately suspected had lead poisoning. Pearl McKenzie, chair of the communication team for the organization noted at the time they believe some of the poisonings are due to eagles feeding on gut piles left by hunters. She explained that lead shots fragment into very small particles and travel through the body of the target animal, which makes it dangerous for people eating the meat and animals such as eagles feeding on the carcasses.

RELATED: Busy holiday season for MARS

In the spring, MARS staff are hoping to make a film illustrating what they’ve been learning doing this work.

“We’re hoping that hunters and hunting organizations – who are by and large conservationists – will work with us to come up with ways to solve this problem,” she noted. “People use lead in ammunition for a number of good reasons so it’s not as simple as not using lead.”

Andersen explained the organization is seeing quite a few lead poisoning cases – particularly in late winter/early spring.

“Some birds pick up fragments of lead when they’re finding pebbles as a digestive aid. Doves and waterfowl find it when they’re grazing lakes and ponds.”

Patrick Evans, owner of Shelter Point, said that with more than 400 acres, eagles are not a rarity on the property.

“This is not the first eagle to go to MARS and their outstanding team … we were very familiar with the good works those folks do.”

He added Scott Gibson from Vancouver Island Salt was the first person to spot the eagle and its inability to fly.

“We went down to investigate the large critter. Scott went on getting its attention and with a quick throw of his coat, he captured the animal. Scott and MARS are really the ones to be commended.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map shows new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 11-17. (BCCDC image)
BCCDC says fresh COVID-19 cases down in most Island Health areas

Nanaimo sees its fewest new COVID-19 cases since mid January

Col. Bryn Elliott is the new wing commander of 19 Wing Comox. Photo submitted
New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

The ceremony was presided over virtually by the commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

The new childcare centre on Denman Island opened in April. Photo, Comox Valley Schools
New Denman Island childcare facility opens

The facility offers 20 new licensed care spaces

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Euthanasia not the only outcome for Fanny Bay cougar

Conservations officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofinosafe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial: Victim left to conclude out-of-court settlement on the day he disappeared

Trial of Richard Alexander in death of John Dillon Brown continues in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read