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Golden eagles caught up in wolf snares

Two golden eagles are receiving treatment at the Medicine River Wildlife Centre after being trapped in snares set for wolves, say officials.
Fish and Wildlife officer Samantha Hillier holds one of two golden eagles inadvertantly caught in wolf snares west of Sundre.<br />photo courtesy Sundre Fish and
Fish and Wildlife officer Samantha Hillier holds one of two golden eagles inadvertantly caught in wolf snares west of Sundre.<br />photo courtesy Sundre Fish and Wildlife.

Two golden eagles are receiving treatment at the Medicine River Wildlife Centre after being trapped in snares set for wolves, say officials.

Believed to be a mating pair, the birds were caught up in the snares after apparently being attracted to bait at the isolated grazing lease site about 12 kilometres outside Sundre, said district Fish and Wildlife officer Adam Mirus.

"A trapper had put out a bunch of bait and around that bait they hung a bunch of wolf snares, which is legal," said Mirus. "What had happened is these eagles have seen or smelled the bait. They landed on the ground and started hopping into the trees to get the meat and in doing so got caught in the snares. It looks like one was caught a couple days before the other one."

Officers attended the scene on Feb. 21 after receiving a call from a civilian through the Report-a-Poacher hotline, he said.

"A member of the public had seen one of them hopping around and called us," he said. "One had the snare right around the neck and the other one had the snare around a wing.

"We rescued them and took them to the vet. We managed to get both snares off the eagles and now they are at Medicine River for rehab.

"At some point in time they should be released. Whether that is six months or a year down the road, I don't know."

Although both animals received injuries, the nature of the injuries is not immediately known, he said.

While it is legal to snare wolves, it is not legal to snare eagles, he said, noting that although charges are not pending, the investigation is ongoing.

"It's an accidental catch," he said. "Maybe that trapper should have been checking his snares sooner than he has been, but we'll address that in the future," he said."

"We are very happy they called Report-a-Poacher," he added.



Dan Singleton

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