A bald eagle found trapped in a fence this week may have ingested poison used to kill rodents, officials at Missouri zoo where the bird is being treated said.
The eagle was rescued by Josh Wisdom – a damage biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation – on Tuesday after he received a call from a landowner in Strafford who saw the bird entangled in a fence, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
"The bird just couldn't pull its wing back through," Wisdom told the Springfield News-Leader. He added the animal's wing was not broken.
Wisdom then took the bird to Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, where it remains for the time being as it receives treatment.
"The bird is very weak," Joey Powell, a spokesperson for the zoo, told the Springfield News-Leader. "Normally an eagle is pretty powerful and alert, but this one is not."
Veterinarians at the zoo suspect the bird may have ingested rodenticide, or poison for rodents, though noted it’s possible the eagle could be suffering from lead poisoning. Lead poisoning in eagles can occur after the animal eats another bird that has been shot with lead pellets, the newspaper reported.
The eagle is receiving vitamin K therapy, which “reverses the anticoagulant effect of rodenticides over a period of 24 to 48 hours from initiation of therapy,” according to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. It is also receiving fluids and anti-inflammatory medicine, Powell added.
If the bird recovers, it will be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, according to the Springfield News-Leader.