‘Tough decision’ after rescued eagle found too injured to operate on

2018-06-22 16:05
Raptor Rescue's Ben Hoffman, steadies a severely injured Long-Crested eagle at the Town Bush Veterinary House Clinic on Thursday morning.

Raptor Rescue's Ben Hoffman, steadies a severely injured Long-Crested eagle at the Town Bush Veterinary House Clinic on Thursday morning. (Ian Carbutt )

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The altruistic efforts of three Pietermaritzburg men to save a Long-Crested Eagle after it was hit by a car ended in heartbreak on Thursday when the bird was euthanased due to its extensive injuries.

Pietermaritzburg father and son Chris and Dani Jensen had taken the injured bird from a man who had found it on the N3 on Wednesday and rushed it to the Town Bush Veterinary House Clinic.

Dani Jensen said he and his father had stopped their vehicle at the roadside of the N3 between Hilton and the Peter Brown off-ramp, when they saw a man walking toward them from the emergency truck stop lane.

“The trailer on my dad’s car had a flat tyre and we had just finished fixing it up when we saw this man coming toward us, holding a big bird in his arms.

“I was wondering what was going on, so we asked him and he said he had found the bird at the roadside around the corner,” said Jenson.

He said the man, who appeared to be in his late 40s, was “quite concerned” about the bird and told them he did not know what to do or how to help.

“The bird was very calm in his arms but I could see her one wing was fully extended and it did not feel comfortable tucking it away.

“I also saw one eye was quite swollen but otherwise, it looked fine on the surface.”

Armed with garden gloves, Jensen senior gently took the bird from the man and they rushed off to the vet.

“It was an incredible day for both my dad an I.

“We had never seen a bird that big so close. It was so beautiful and the eyes were especially striking.”

When the bird reached the vet, Dr Oliver Tatham and Raptor Rescue’s Ben Hoffman had a look at the bird.

On Thursday morning, the pair reassessed the eagle and unfortunately found its injuries were too great for the eagle to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

They said that even if they operated on the distressed eagle, it might not have made it off the operating table.

“The bird had a broken shoulder, a broken right leg, a broken left foot and damage to her eye as well as extensive internal bleeding,” said Hoffman.

“Keeping the eagle alive knowing she can never hunt again or be released into the wild is just unfair on the bird.”

As a result the “tough decision” was made to euthanase the eagle.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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