Skip to comments.Bald eagles found slaughtered in B.C.
Posted on 02/04/2005 11:18:40 AM PST by Abathar
VANCOUVER (CP) - A flash of white feathers lured Julie Bryson-McElwee's dog into the bush.
She followed when he didn't come back. A dead bald eagle lay on the forest floor. Lunging to keep her pet away from the carcass, Bryson-McElwee stumbled on Wednesday across a shallow grave, piled with 14 of the protected species. The legs and tail feathers had been cut off, possibly for sale on the black market.
"It's just sickening," Bryson-McElwee said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "Whoever did this had a real operation going, there were garbage bags all around the grave and in it. It looked to me like they were killed somewhere else and brought here to be buried."
She was so upset by her ugly discovery that she stayed with the birds for hours waiting for police, worried that someone would try to remove the bodies once the story hit the news.
"I was upset, now I'm really angry," she said.
Wildlife officers investigating the killings say they aren't uncommon.
"We have found birds mutilated like this over the years," said Rick Hahn, a senior conservation officer for the Lower Mainland. "We suspect there is a black market trade in the talons. Eagles are traditionally used by First Nations people for cultural ceremonies.
"However, we haven't made that link in this case."
Fines for the crime can range as high as $50,000 for killing an eagle and up to $100,000 for trafficking in a wildlife species.
Thor Froslev, manager of the Brackendale Eagle Reserve where 1,975 eagles were spotted this year in the park's 19th annual bird count, said he's not optimistic anyone will be caught.
"How will they find them?" he asked.
"I'm just sick about it. What sad news, and we've had it before."
Over the years he has, on occasion, found eagles shot dead and similarly excised for parts.
"I understand they are wanted for ornaments and for medicine in native cultures," he said.
Chief Bill Williams of the nearby Squamish First Nation said eagles are revered by natives, who use bird parts from carcasses found by the provincial conservation office.
"We don't go out into the wild and take them ourselves," he said.
When dead birds are passed on to a band they are blessed to release their spirit and prayers are said to apologize on behalf of man for their death.
"Because it flies so high, the eagle is closest to the creator. It brings prayers to the creator," Williams said.
Bev Day, director of OWL, a wildlife rehabilitation society, said she hopes the bodies of the slaughtered eagles found in North Vancouver are given to First Nations people for that treatment.
She recently released four bald eagles in the area the carcasses were found and worries they might be hers.
"With their legs cut off, we couldn't immediately tell if they had been wearing bands," said Day. "I hope investigators are going to comb that area with metal detectors, maybe we can find some identification bands and figure out where they came from."
She said it would be easy for someone to lure eagles this time of year.
"They are normally up in the Squamish area now, eating the spawning salmon but with the rivers so high a lot of the salmon has washed away. If someone had a bunch of fish and put it out I think it would attract them pretty quickly," she said.
About half of the world's 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska. Combined with British Columbia's population of about 20,000, the northwest coast of North America is by far their greatest stronghold.
They flourish here in part because of the salmon. Dead or dying fish are an important food source for all bald eagles.
Day, who nurses birds of prey that have been poisoned or shot and returns them to the wild, would like to teach the birds killers a lesson.
"I hope the judge gives them to me to do some community service," she said. "I've got some really nasty jobs that need doing, cleaning out the duck pond comes to mind. I'd give them a really small shovel and a small pail."
Which does happen
Hey, someone was going to say it, might as well be me.
Why do I have the feeling that the person(s) who did this are some psychotic raving lefty America hater?
Would this be the people that have a natural respect for mother earth and her creatures?
I, too, am sickened by this. All that tasty meat gone to waste!
I was thinking the same thing. Four thousand innocent babies murdered in the womb every day, no heart-rending stories are written about them.
Stake 'em out naked, and let all nearby bald eagles feast on them for a few days.
That's true, but they don't just slaughter them and leave them to rot.
Black market animal trading is really strange. I saw something on Animal Planet about salmon poachers in the northwest. They put these huge 35 mile long nets out as the salmon were returning to spawn and what do you know they caught thousands and thousands of fish...and whales, birds, dolphins, seals and anything else out there. It makes so little sense to disturb the mating habits of the thing you are trying to sell. I think they sold them in Taiwan.
Yeah, don't they taste like spotted owl?
I live in Vancouver, B.C.
In all fairness, I doubt the Natives did this, they really do revere and respect the eagles.
A few years ago, a black bear crossed the local highway and was hit. By the time police got to the scene, someone had already cut out its gall bladder. Bear gall bladder is highly sought-after in China as an aphrodisiac.
You figure it out.
There is no black market in fetal body parts. That is an urban legend, fueled by extremist anti-abortion activists who refer to embryonic stem cells as "body parts" and then encourage people to believe that "body parts" means organs from late stage fetuses, and that they are being sold for transplantation or some sort of secret and/or illegal research. And there is no "black market" in embryonic stem cells either -- why would there be, when it's perfectly legal to sell them, and they are now readily available to researchers at a very low cost (or even no cost, as in the case of the Harvard lines).
Bald eagles are naught but white headed vultures feeding on carrion & dead fish, a sick symbol indeed for a national bird.
Damn, if not the turkey Ben Franklin wanted, at the very least they could have chosen the golden eagle, a true bird of prey that is a fighter.
Of course, you also have the California freaks spending untold taxpayer millions on worshipping that condor buzzard.
A little gamier than spotted owl, but not as bad as grey wolf.;-)
Seriously, though, I would never shoot anything edible, and then leave the meat. No ethical hunter would. There are some exceptions, like mountain lion and coyotes, but I even keep the hams from bear for stew. Even if you don't care to eat it yourself, food banks are happy to get donations.
That may be true in this country, though I have seen information that contradicts that viewpoint. For the sake of making a point, I'll agree.
What about the European black market for fetal body parts?
I don't have a problem with that, since the bear was already dead. Waste not, want not. I doubt if someone would risk life, limb, and increased insurance rates to intentionally hit a bear with a car.
I thought this was about Boston College.
You kill it, you eat it.
Tasted like chicken.
"Bald eagles are naught but white headed vultures feeding on carrion & dead fish, a sick symbol indeed for a national bird."
Actually Bald Eagles are very good at catching live Salmon and there are lots of nature film clips of them catching and sometimes dropping live fish.
The do eat carrion at the end of the run once the Salmon enter the rivers to spawn. Salmon is a seasonal feast after all.
The condor is cool. So ugly it is beautiful.
Hey that's our national symbol, sounds like ground for invading Canada to me.
You obviously have not seen the Austin Powers movie with Fat Bastard saying "I EAT BABY....it's the other, other white meat!!".
I suspect, if they find who did this, it will be a native person who does not show the immense respect for nature that is supposedly their cultural heritage (just like the ones down east who poach moose with snare traps). Notice how almost all the incidents like this that have occured have been on native land.
...its just that some have a comb-over.
I suspect the eagle parts have a ready market south of the Canadian border to phony bast*rds like Ward Churchill who want to play at being noble redmen.
It will have been local natives who did the 'harvesting'.
Spare me the 'Earth is our mother' rhetoric.
Thanks for the quick come back. I live in Vancouver and it is quite common to see Bald Eagles downtown during the Salmon Season.
Beautiful birds, no doubt about it.
That's the rare Trump Eagle. ;-)
Mmmmm, poached salmon...
In IL we do get quite a few bald eagles nesting along the Mississippi River in the winter and a very few stay in Starved Rock State Park year round. But, unfortunately, we see them in our zoos or through animal rescues, because the birds have been injured and can no longer be released back into the wild.
Thanks for the ping!
"Actually Bald Eagles are very good at catching live Salmon and there are lots of nature film clips of them catching and sometimes dropping live fish."
Several years living around them in Alaska convinced me they are little more than bottom feeding vultures, period.
Devolve, the eagle looks beautiful against that background. It looks so real!
Yup - that did work well
Hmmm, do you have both thumbs in your armpits and fingers flapping??