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Blue Mountain Wildlife treat Bald Eagle with highest levels of lead poisoning seen

Tompkins said the eagles lead level is 40 times higher than the level considered to be toxic.

PENDLETON, Ore. - A bald eagle is being treated in Pendleton for one of the worst lead poisoning cases experts there have ever seen.

A bald eagle, our nations symbol of pride and freedom, found clinging to life in a Richland backyard this weekend is now at the Blue Mountain Wildlife in Pendleton, Oregon.

“This bird had the highest amount of lead we have ever measured in an eagle.”

Lynn Tompkins, Director at Blue Mountain Wildlife said the eagle seems to be doing better, however they are still very worried.

“We're not very confident that we can actually save it but were going to try really hard,” said Tompkins.

Tompkins said the eagles lead level is 40 times higher than the level considered to be toxic.

“This birds lead level is 813,” a number never seen before.

“We're trying to get her hydrated enough so she can cast a pellet and hopefully get the lead out of her stomach so far she hasn't been able to do that,” said Tompkins.

Experts at the rescue service said there's only one way the eagle could get so much lead in its system.

She said, “they get the lead by eating other animals that have been shot with lead ammunition.”

Tompkins said once lead is exposed to the digestive enzymes its dissolved and then goes in to the blood stream causing dehydration and eventually causes the gut to shut down.

She said it's a huge problem and three quarters of eagles that are treated here have lead. They lost three eagles just last year and she suggest using alternative ammunition.

“It’s better for everybody to not use something that is toxic and we know lead is toxic.”

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