TV: Bald eagles dying at rate “much higher than normal” and it’s not from West Nile virus as previously claimed — Now around 60 dead in Utah since December — “We feel helpless, we don’t have a lot of answers” (VIDEO)

Published: February 18th, 2014 at 8:21 pm ET
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KSL, Feb. 18, 2014: Lead blamed for latest bald eagle deaths in Utah [...] not West Nile virus [...] “It’s frustrating and it’s scary,” [Buz Marthaler] said. “Typically, we get eagles in this time of year for fractures.” [...] The center has lost eight bald eagles to lead poisoning since December, which is much higher than normal, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah officials said. The center averages maybe three deaths from lead poisoning a year. “It seems like it’s increasing year after year,” Marthaler said,” and it’s not just eagles.” [...] Charles Hardy, public policy director for Gun Owners of Utah [...] believes the tests on eagles that found signs of lead poisoning are not conclusive [...] lead in its solid form does not spread and contaminate very easily [...]

KSL, Feb. 18, 2014:

  • Mike Anderson, KSL: Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah says they’ve lost a total of 8 bald eagles to lead poisoning since last December. They say that’s much higher than normal, it’s a problem that’s only getting worse. […] Clear signs something’s wrong.
  • Buz Marthaler, Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah: It has some type of neurological issues. We feel helpless. We don’t have a lot of answers.
  • Anderson: Charles Hardy, public policy director for Gun Owners of Utah says he’s not convinced that there is a problem.
  • Hardy: What they’ve tested is they’ve found that an animal had somewhat elevated lead levels and then they stopped looking.

National Wildlife Health Center, Jan. 17, 2014: Evaluations on eared grebe and bald eagle carcasses […] confirmed West Nile virus (WNV) to be the cause of death. […] Extensive testing ruled out many other causes of death. […] 54 eagles have been found sick or dead in 6 counties in Utah [...] Clinical signs in eagles include head tremors, paralysis [...] and progressive seizures. [.…] WNV has rarely been observed in wildlife in North America during winter […] The GSL [Great Salt Lake] mortality event is the first report of WNV infection in eared grebes. […] records of WNV in bald eagles [...] are rare. […] the investigation continues […]

L.A. Times, Dec. 29, 2013: Scientists guessed [it was] caused by the West Nile virus, but later ruled out that possibility. [...] Officials at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center have their own theories. Some point to radiation from Japan [...]

Alaska Public Radio Network, Jan. 24, 2014 (at 6:00 in):

  • Professor Doug Dasher, University of Alaska Fairbanks: What we looked at is [...] what they call multiple stressors, where an animal or human could [feel? the] impact of climate change, contaminants, your food supply may be changing, so the body’s under stress. Then you add a chemical, be it radiation [...] that can cause illnesses.
  • Steve Heimel: So [radioactive pollution] could have been a factor [in the ice seal deaths] along with other stressors?
  • Dasher: Yeah, that’s what we found.

See also: Gov’t map shows highest radiation levels were directly over Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding area on March 20, 2011 -- Most intense concentration of anywhere in world, including Fukushima (GRAPHIC)

Watch the KSL report hereFull Alaska Public Radio broadcast here

Published: February 18th, 2014 at 8:21 pm ET
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