CROW: Eaglet E14 died due to ingesting toxic amount of rat poison
On Wednesday, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) released the necropsy results, determining E14 had died from poisoning. His liver tissue was found to contain “markedly increased levels of brodifacoum, a type of anticoagulant rodenticide or rat poison.”
The poison causes animals’ blood from clotting normally and causes them to bleed to death. Rodents that ingest the poison often become disoriented and lethargic, making easy prey for birds like eagles, thus passing the poison through the food chain.
CROW says this, sadly, is not uncommon for healthy raptors to test positive for the poison, but have not yet reached the point of causing toxicity and illness. Harriet and M15 likely have chronic exposure to rodenticides from the same food sources but are not suffering ill effects due to their larger body size compared to baby E14.
Cindy Jones, a long time wildlife volunteer, said she has been photographing the eagles since Harriet was with Ozzie.
“When M came in, it was sad he died,” Jones said. “But it’s part of nature. I had to learn that.
“Now to know its rat poisoning,” Jones said about how E14 died. “That’s heartbreaking.”
The heartbreaking development is something Dr. Arlyne Salcedo sees often at the Kindness Animal Hospital in Cape Coral.
”We do see animals that come in that have had secondary poisonings because they’re eating an animal that has had rat poisoning,” Salcedo said. ”With the newer generation, pets and wild animals need much less of it and it’s a lot more toxic.
“There aren’t as many good antidotes,” she added. “Some don’t have any antidotes.”
CROW provided the following resources for more information on anticoagulant rodenticides:
- Poisons Used to Kill Rodents Have Safer Alternatives | Audobon
- All About Birds: Raptors and Rat Poison | The Cornell Lab
- Outreach Materials | Raptors Are The Solution (R.A.T.S.)