Raptor Rehabilitation Project Returning
Bald Eagle to the Wild
The University of Missouri Raptor Rehabilitation Project will release a bald eagle back into the wild at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. The release will take place at the Hartsburg Access Conservation Area along the Missouri River. Prior to the release, there will be a short presentation featuring some of the raptors that are permanent residents of the project.
Khan, a mature bald eagle, was brought to the Project’s facility at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine on Feb. 22, after being found down in a field near Hartsburg. At that time, he was unable to fly very far leaving him unable to hunt successfully for food. An examination revealed that the only abnormalities in his condition were that he was underweight and covered in a sticky substance. Blood work revealed signs of muscle damage and elevated, but not dangerous levels, of lead. To treat the muscles, he was put on cage rest. Two baths removed the sticky residue. Kahn also was treated for the lead poisoning to return his blood lead level back to normal.
Eagles are strong and spirited birds and can present safety challenges for handlers. For both the eagle’s and project members’ safety, 15 Raptor Rehabilitation volunteers were involved with Khan’s treatment. This comprised almost half of the project’s total membership. Duties included: assisting with bathing, cleaning his cage, feeding and monitoring his flight skills. While caring for Khan, the volunteers gained knowledge about diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of specific medical problems, as well as skills in handling bald eagles and raptors in general.
The Raptor Rehabilitation Project is an all-volunteer organization associated with the MU College Of Veterinary Medicine. The organization’s goals are to rehabilitate birds of prey and return them to the wild, educate the public about raptors and their environmental importance and to give members the opportunity to gain more information about raptors. Currently, there are about 40 active members, including veterinary students, other students from MU and surrounding colleges, and community members. New members are always welcome. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays. For more information, visit the web site www.raptorrehab.missouri.edu.
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