Wisconsin bald eagle had so much lead in system it couldn't hold its head up, rescuers say

A bald eagle found in Wisconsin succumbed to lead toxicity levels four times that at which it could function, dying Monday after wildlife experts had tried to nurse her back to health.

The Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua, Wisc. found the eagle “lying face down” because she had no strength to hold her head up. The center tried to help the eagle for three weeks, but she was not strong enough to overcome the lead which had leeched into her blood system.

According to NWC, bald eagles scavenge deer carcasses and fish, and this one in particular likely ingested prey which contained discarded lead in the form of bullets or fishing tackle.

“As a family, we are devastated but feel this is a teachable moment,” NWC posted to Facebook. They recommended unters switch to lead-free bullet options and “packing what you bring into the wilderness especially in regards to fishing tackle.”

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“Just ONE lead split shot is enough to kill ONE loon weighing nearly 12 pounds,” the post continued. "Hunting and fishing are such important parts of our culture and economy and although we support these initiatives, we think it can be done in a more responsible way.”

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