Two of the six poisoned eagles have been released to the wild

Two of the poisoned eagles have been released back to the wild, but the others still needs time to recover.

Six eagles were found poisoned, and another Six dead, earlier this month in the North Cowichan region.

Isaac King, a volunteer with Raptors Rescue Society, says one was released over the weekend, another was released yesterday, but an adult male is still in their care.

"He's got some trauma in his wrist, we suspect happened when he either fell out of a tree, due to the symptoms of the poisoning, or took a hard landing.  Any number of uncoordinated actions could have caused it, but at this point he's going to be in our care for a bit because of that."

The Raptors Rescue Society took in four of the poisoned eagles, while two were taken to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.  King says those eagles are doing well, but are still being cared for. 

"Currently the prognosis is still good for those guys.  We're hoping they'll turn around, they're just under observation for the next little bit, to make sure that there's no secondary issues that are cropping up.  The immediate symptoms of the poisoning are under control, but we want to make sure there are no other injuries or illness that have come across because of that that we need to treat them for before releasing them."

He adds that of the six taken into care, one of the eagles succumbed to the poison.

One of the eagles was released over the weekend, and the second one was released on Thursday afternoon.  King says they typically release the recovered birds in the same area that they found them.

"Depending on the species of the individual, and their age, it's not always necessarily 100% what you're going to do.  Sometimes you take into account they were found somewhere that's really inappropriate for that individual, or it was an juvenile after a territorial scuffle or something like that, but the majority of the time we try to release them near to where we found them.  Big picture, usually all of our releases are assessed by our senior biologist to make sure that 'Yes, the particular individual is suited to go back here,' or 'No, they really should be going to a different site,' but we aim to release them near to where we found them in, I'd say, a vast majority of cases."

He says individual eagles won't make an impact on the species, but it does help raise awareness and educate the public.  He says a majority of the cases the Raptors Rescue Society deals with are human caused, specifically lead poisoning.  King says people shouldn't be using lead weights when fishing or lead shot when hunting, because it works t's way through the food chain and ends up poisoning scavengers and predators like eagles, and a lot of the time, the outcome for lead poisoning isn't good. 

Conservation officers are still investigating the cause of the poisoning.

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