BARNSTABLE, MA (WBZ-AM)--Officials in Barnstable on Cape Cod found a wounded bald eagle last week, severely hurt and clinging to life, with a puncture wound, a ruptured eye and suffering from rodenticide toxicity, meaning it had eaten a rat or a mouse that had in turn ingested rat poison. The bird had to be euthanized.
According to the director of the Cape Wildlife Center, rat poison commonly effects animals it was not meant to harm including wildlife such as predators that eat prey infected with the poison. The most common rodenticides is an anticoagulant which becomes lethal by damaging the animals ability to clot so that the victim bleeds to death no matter how big or small the wound.
Authorities say the eagle’s death could have been prevented if someone had chosen a safer way to deal with rodent problems such as rat traps, scent-based deterrents and ultrasonic devices.
The bald eagle is both the national bird and national animal of the United States and appears on its seal. In the late 20th century it was on the brink of extinction but populations have recovered and the species was removed from the U.S. list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007.