Bald eagle euthanized after being shot, poisoned with lead, wildlife officials say

A bald eagle was euthanized Friday morning in California after it was illegally shot with a pellet gun and poisoned with lead, authorities said.

The male eagle was found with a fractured wing Jan. 31 in Petaluma, north of San Francisco, the Bay Area's Fox 2 KTVU-TV reported. The bird was then taken to a veterinary hospital, where an X-ray revealed that its ulna was fractured, according to the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

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The eagle was also determined to have elevated lead levels that "severely and fundamentally compromised" the bird's heart. Lead exposure usually happens when raptors consume rodents or other animals with human-implemented lead shots in them. For this reason, lead shots are now illegal in California, according to the rescue.

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is offering a reward to anyone who has information that will help U.S. Fish and Wildlife determine the individual who shot the bird, the station reported. The agency is also investigating the incident.

 

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"We are profoundly saddened by the human-caused outcome of our local Bald Eagle. Using lead-based shot, even pellet guns on rodents, can have devastating consequences," the Wildlife Rescue said on Facebook. "We can only hope that this bird’s story will help raise awareness of how we are all connected to our local environment, and adverse impact certain actions have on our natural neighbors."