After Bald Eagle Dies Of Rat Poison, MA State Rep Wants To Limit Sales


BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — After a bald eagle died in Massachusetts after being exposed to rat poison, a State Representative introduced a bill on Friday to limit the sale of certain rodenticides.

The female bald eagle died in mid-March after it come into contact with the poison. Mass Wildlife officials said on Sunday this is the first recorded instance of a bald eagle dying in this way in the state. State officials are not sure precisely how the bird came into contact with the poison, as it could have either eaten the poison straightaway or eaten a rodent that had eaten the poison.

Bald eagles vanished from the state in the early 1900's due to pesticides and habitat loss, but have started to make a comeback with intense conservation efforts.

State Rep. Jim Hawkins (D-Attleboro) said the second scenario is fairly common:

"Mice and rats are very sluggish after they've ingested this poison, and they'll go after them before they go after a healthy one because it's easier to catch them," he said. Hawkins added that other wildlife like coyotes and foxes can also be poisoned by eating tainted prey.

"They die a gruesome death...it's horrible, what happens," he said.

To try to solve the problem, Rep. Hawkins and co-sponsors like the MSPCA and the Humane Society introduced a bill to restrict sales of certain powerful rat poisons to exterminators and pest control business only.

Right now, anyone can buy the poison online in large quantities, but retail sale is restricted. The bill would also increase documentation on how the poison is being used.

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports:

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(Photo: Courtesy of James B. Condon, Jr)