A recent study discovered rat poison in over 80 percent of American eagles.
Researchers tested 133 eagles between 2014 and 2018, according to the study published in the journal PLOS One. Of those tested, 82% tested positive for anticoagulant rodenticide compounds (aka: rat poison).
116 of the eagles were tested were bald eagles, and of those, 96 tested positive for rat poison. Additionally, 17 of the eagles tested were golden eagles and 13 of those had rat poison in their systems.
While the researchers were able to clearly establish that rat poison was affecting the majority of the carcasses they studied, they were unable to determine how the eagles had ingested or otherwise absorbed the poison.
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One of the study authors and assistant professor at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Dr. Mark Ruder, told CNN, “Although the exact pathways of exposure remain unclear, eagles are likely exposed through their predatory and scavenging activities.”
The study also noted that 4% of the eagles they studied died from rat poison. The 4% of birds showed signs of internal bleeding that was caused by blood clots resulting from the poison.
CNN reported that Scott Edwards, a director of graduate studies and zoology professor at Harvard University, warned Americans to avoid rat poison. He said:
“Humans need to understand that when those compounds get into the environment, they cause horrible damage to many species, including our national symbol, the bald eagle.”
Just a few decades ago, the bald eagle was on the brink of extinction. However, they’re no longer on the endangered species list and have been flourishing, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s important that eagles continue to flourish and don’t dip in population again. Humans remain a threat to their populations and doing something as simple as avoiding rat poison could save many lives.Whizzco