WENY News - Cornell University officials save poisoned hawk and bald eagle

Cornell University officials save poisoned hawk and bald eagle

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ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- A northern harrier hawk and a young bald eagle were brought to the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center after being found clinging to life in the wild. 

"Both raptors were brought in  for vague clinical signs of weakness and severe depression and both turned out to have been affected by different toxins in the environment," said Cornell University's assistant professor of zoological medicine, Sara Childs-Sanford.

The bald eagle had to be treated for lead poisoning, after they believe it ate something that was shot with lead ammunition. The hawk was being treated for rat poison, after they believe it consumed a rodent who had consumed poison. Both conditions were life-threatening. 

"The eagle was here for probably about three weeks and the harrier was here for a couple weeks as well," said Childs-Sanford. "Once they're stable and they're doing well, they can be transferred to a wildlife rehabilitator for finishing out any medications if needed and then reconditioning."

From there, once the raptors are able to fly well and catch prey, they are released back into the wild. Both animals have since been transferred to Syracuse and are believed to be doing well and on track to be released soon. According to Childs-Sanford, both animals surviving represents a rarity because most animals exposed to toxins usually don't get the help they need.

"These are success cases that are being publicized, but I think it's actually much more common that they would actually die from this," said Childs-Sanford. "So it's good for people to know that this is a problem that is prevalent and really can have an impact on wildlife populations."

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