Bald Eagle Euthanized Following Vehicle Accident

Peter Sheppard

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     A bald eagle had to be euthanized Saturday after being struck and paralyzed by a vehicle. At 1:30pm on Saturday, an anonymous caller reported to the Homer Police that the eagle had been struck by a vehicle on East End Road near Slavin Drive.

     Officers, along with Fish and Wildlife officials, were dispatched to the scene and the injured eagle was recovered by Fish and Wildlife. Unfortunately, the accident had left the eagle paralyzed so Fish and Wildlife opted to euthanize it later that afternoon.

     Leslie Slater, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, stated that euthanasia is common among incidents such as these when rehabilitation may do more harm than good.

     "A lot of these birds are beyond help," said Slater.

     The eagle was struck by the vehicle while it was feasting on roadkill, something that Slater says becomes increasingly more common as the winter months approach and eagles have fewer food sources to rely on.

     "There are a lot of eagles that are starting to congregate as their food sources are being covered over by snow," she said.

     In order to prevent an accident like this from occuring again, Slater emphasized the necessity of driving carefully with the roads being as icy as they are and also mentioned that since eagles are larger than other birds they are not quite as quick to react to oncoming traffic.

     In addition to driving cautiously, Slater also mentioned the possibility of motorists stopping to remove roadkill themselves, emphasizing safeness in the handling of the roadkill and avoiding becoming a road hazard.

     "If you have the ability to do so ... you could remove roadkills out of the way, I suppose," she said.

     Slater’s suggestion of motorists moving roadkill to the side of the road was supported in a statement made by Alaska State Trooper Spokesperson Beth Ipsen, who stated that moving roadkill to the side is fine so long as one can avoid becoming a road hazard or if the roadkill itself is not too big.

     If you happen to either be involved in or witness an accident such as this, contact the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center at 235-6546.

 

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