Birds found poisoned in county landfill

Published: Updated:
Courtesy of Animis Foundation

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Officials with a local animal sanctuary said they have been picking up sick birds from the Marion County Landfill and nearby neighborhoods that are being poisoned, including two bald eagles found ill on Monday, one of which later died.

Michelle Whitfield, with the Animis Foundation, an Ocala nonprofit dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of wildlife and domestic animals, said that in five years they have rescued two vultures and 10 bald eagles.

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and is federally protected. Whitfield said the sick birds are first taken to their facility off Southwest 27th Avenue for emergency treatment.

The two eagles were given oxygen at the facility because β€œthey were so out of it,” Whitfield said.

After any of the sick birds are stabilized, they are taken to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland for further treatment. Beth Lott, with the Audubon Center in Maitland, said Friday that the center has received more than a dozen sick birds from Marion County, all of which were poisoned. The majority of them survived, she said.

Whitfield said the sanctuary tracks the birds that improve and brings them back to Marion County, where they are released.

All of the birds tested by the Animis Foundation have exhibited signs of poisoning by the drug pentobarbital, which is used to humanely euthanize animals such as cats and dogs, Whitfield said.

She said the bald eagles found Monday were tested by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Commission and those results have not yet been received.

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