Lead poisoning kills eagles

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Three bald eagles have died from lead poisoning.

They were found in different areas of central and southern Illinois. This has all been in the last two weeks. Doctors at the U of I Wildlife Medical Clinic say it’s concerning.

Over the last several years the most majestic birds in the sky have made Illinois their home. But as with all species there’s dangers they can’t avoid.

“We have some ideas the time frame we’re looking at is a little different than what i would expect but eagles are usually scavaging birds 

Three bald eagles have died. All 3 later tested positive for lead poisoning. Doctor Sarah Reich with the U of I Wildlife Medical Clinic says it’s hard to treat.

“It is a very poor prognosis, that doesn’t mean we don’t try to fix it we have medications we can use to try reverse it and limit the progression of the disease but a lot of times it’s unsucessful.” 

Doctors believe the birds ingested the lead through something they ate.

“If we can just have people limiting their use there’s so many other things they can use like steel and other metals and really contacting local officials to be able to start changing some of our laws and really outlawing the use of the lead.” 

None of the eagles came from the same location. Which makes it hard to pinpoint what is poisoning them. But Reich is calling on lawmakers for change.

“We need to get underway in getting some changes to laws made because we can’t be using in this day in age using lead in our hunting or fishing equipment just because we know of how much of an effect it has on a lot of our wildlife.” 

The birds will be brought to a Bald Eagle Repository. They will take the feathers and give them to Native American tribes.

They are the only group allowed to have these feathers — for anyone else they’re illegal to own.

It is also illegal to kill, sell or harm bald eagles or their nests. This is under the bald and golden eagle protection act. It was established in 1940.

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