An expansive community effort led to a daring, successful rescue of a young eagle.
At approximately 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 30, Susie Lorenz and her Salmon Arm neighbours were horrified to see a young eagle had impaled its wing on a tree branch and was dangling from it 80 feet in the air.
Lorenz and neighbours spent several hours calling every animal rescue organization they could think of, even calling the fire department and the RCMP. Unfortunately, none of the organizations contacted had the ability to get the eagle down. The tree itself was on a steep hill, making it difficult to reach by a firetruck’s ladder or a bucket truck.
Another neighbour who had been watching the drama unfold contacted her son Mike McPherson who worked for Glen Power. McPherson brought his hydro pole climbing equipment. It took about an hour for him to make the ascent. When he reached the branch, he lowered the eagle down using rope tied to the bird’s feet before descending from the tree himself.
Just a few hours earlier, Carmen Huebner, Susie Lorenz’ neighbour, reached out to a Shuswap Facebook group and asked for help. The post garnered hundreds of reactions and commenters offered many suggestions. Eventually, a friend of Lorenz saw the Facebook post and put Lorenz in contact with a former employee of the Kamloops Wildlife Park who was willing to transport the bird to Kamloops.
“It really was a community effort, everybody on Facebook was giving recommendations and advice and ideas of places to call to get help,” Lorenz said. “It was a group effort for sure, community and neighbours.”
The eagle arrived in Kamloops just after 4 p.m. where Tracy Reynolds, the animal care manager for the BC Wildlife Park, was waiting with a veterinarian on standby. Once in Reynolds’ care the eagle was given pain medication as well as antibiotics. On Wednesday, July 31, the eagle was taken to a veterinarian for x-rays and to get the fist-sized hole left by the branch stitched up.
“We will do everything we can to give it the best chance at recovery,” Reynolds said. “This is not something the animal could have recovered from; it would have 100 per cent gotten infected.”
Reynolds says the eagle, considered only a fledgling, is otherwise healthy. During the recovery process, the bird’s movement will be restricted as the injury heals. If all goes well the bird could make a full recovery in one month but will likely take longer.