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Bald Eagle Dead After Lead Poisoning in Carbon County

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SUMMIT HILL -- Last week, a 4-year-old female bald eagle was found alone and sick near the Francis E. Walter Dam in White Haven.

It was brought to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center. On Tuesday, it died.

"Its head was down. It was vomiting, and it had a very watery green diarrhea and obviously neurological problems, too,” said Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist at the environmental center.

A veterinarian at Companion Animal Hospital in Tamaqua tested the eagle and found very high levels of lead in its system; the highest she's ever seen.

An x-ray showed a metal fragment, possibly from a piece of a bullet the eagle somehow ate.

Some ammunition and fishing sinkers, for example, contain lead, and like people, animals can get sick or die from eating lead.

"I think a lot of times people don't realize that bullet being left or that piece from a fishing sinker being left behind isn't, they think that it's inane, that it's not going to hurt anything else. But other things do come along and eat it, so it is something you see unfortunately,” said naturalist Franklin Klock.

The wildlife workers care for creatures of all kinds at the center in Carbon County, but they've never had a bald eagle die before from confirmed lead poisoning.

They say what happened to the bald eagle is a tragedy, but also a teaching moment.

"My husband and I run a summer program for youth, and I was thinking through this whole experience. We're really going to push this, that you know, think about what you're putting out there in the environment. If we can get people when they're young, you can sometimes make them realize that their actions do affect the planet and I plan on using this so this bird has not died in vain,” said Jeannie Carl, a naturalist.

"Sportsmen have a choice. Again, it's a great thing and say, here's some non-lead ammunition. Here's some non-lead fishing tackle. Maybe this is a better choice when you're concerned with wildlife. It's a very simple thing that they can do,” said Gallagher.

11 comments

  • EDUCATE!!

    People need to be Educated on the Circle of Life..
    Just like when they feel the need to Poison the mice they may have around their house. Those mice consume the Poison, die outside somewhere and other animals eat the dead mice. Then, the other animal dies from the Poison inside the mouse, and so on…
    We need to Educate..It doesn’t just end at getting rid of the mouse in your house.

  • WarningFakeNews

    Where are the stories decrying the carnage caused by windmills? That form of “free energy” which is hardly free, but a massive imposition on the taxpayers and kills thousands of birds a day across the country. Or, for that matter, those massive solar arrays in the desert that manage to fry them in flight? These things never seem to upset the leftists in the media. Those “narratives” don’t fit the template.

    • Patti Lewis Ollendyke

      I read about those things all the time… stories are posted about windmills all over social media. People fight them – but always lose the fight. Lead ammunition and sinkers are something that any hunter/outdoorsman can easily change. Everything we do in nature trickles down the food chain.

    • Axia

      You want to compare the deaths of wildlife caused by wind and solar to deaths caused by carbon fuels? Then you have a valid point. Which would show green being much more friendly. But keep parroting things you hear on fake news sites like Breitbart.

  • yeti sasquatch

    Being a avid birder and hunter it saddens me when a bald eagle dies but before anymore moronic comments are made do some research on the Pittman-Robertson act

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