Bald eagle poisoned by lead shot dies at rehab center - FOX 32 News Chicago

Bald eagle poisoned by lead shot dies at rehab center

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BARRINGTON, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Despite aggressive and expensive round-the-clock treatment, a bald eagle recently died at a northwest suburban wildlife rehabilitation center, Pioneer Press is reporting.

Believed to be 2 years old bird, the eagle was recovered from a farmer's field in northern Lake County and brought to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Barrington, according to center director Dawn Keller.

He was found with lead pellets in his stomach, probably from an animal that had been shot but left behind, she said.

The bird suffered lead poisoning at a high enough level to permeate soft tissue, organs and even bone, Keller said. Left untreated, and sometimes even with treatment, that can lead to neurological symptoms, blindness and death.

The bird was put on an aggressive medication schedule, with treatment scheduled to last for months. One of his worst symptoms was severe liver impairment, and a chelating agent was used to pull the lead from tissue, blood, bone and the liver, Keller said.

The treatment was quite expensive. The machine Flint Creek purchased just for testing cost about $2,400, and testing reagents were $379, she said. There were additional costs of radiographs, complete blood counts and chemical panels to assess the lead levels in the body.

It is illegal to use lead shot in Illinois to hunt waterfowl, since residual shot was linked with bird mortality, according to Keller. But lead shot is legal to use in Illinois for other types of hunting. California recently outlawed lead shot entirely, but other states have yet to follow suit.

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