According to Minnesota wildlife officials, three bald eagles died, and ten others became ill after eating animals that had been chemically euthanized and dumped in a landfill.
The critically ill birds are cared for by experts at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.
The director predicts that they will all recover and be released back into the wild. State and federal authorities are also looking into the matter.
Last Sunday, an Inver Grove Heights police officer discovered a critically injured baby bald eagle in the snow near a landfill.
He took it to the Raptor Center, where staff found traces of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.
According to the Raptor Center, volunteers discovered nine more birds similarly affected the next day.
The following day, U.S. Another eagle was found by Fish and Wildlife.
“The suspicion that these birds were suffering from pentobarbital poisoning was increased when it was confirmed that carcasses of animals that had been chemically euthanized were brought to the landfill on Friday and could have been scavenged on by eagles,” the center said on Facebook.
The center stated that three birds had severe lead poisoning and one had avian influenza and that “the remaining ten patients are still alive and under the intensive care of our expert veterinary staff.”
Victoria Hall, executive director of the center, expressed optimism about their chances of recovery.
She stated that animals that have been chemically killed must be disposed of to prevent other creatures from scavenging on them.
“This tragedy demonstrates how vital it is for people to be mindful of what we put into the ecosystem,” the center noted.
“We are all connected, and our actions can sometimes have unintended and devastating consequences.”