Snowy Owl Rescued on Cape Suffered from Rodent Poison

EASTHAM – Wildlife rescue officials say a sick snowy owl rescued from a jetty at Wellfleet Harbor died from rodent poison.

The animal was discovered last week in a dehydrated and weak state and was severely underweight. Despite the best efforts of staff at Wild Care in Eastham, the bird died a few hours after being brought in for treatment.

Testing determined the animal suffered from secondary rodenticide poisoning.

“Secondary rodenticides are slowly poisoning our wildlife,” said Stephanie Ellis, the Executive Director of Wild Care Cape Cod. “When people use anticoagulant-rodenticides, such as d-Con and other brands commonly found at household stores, mice and rats become poisoned and debilitated, and hence easy prey for raptors and mammals. When an owl eats a mouse that has been poisoned, the owl itself becomes poisoned in the same manner.”

Wild Care staff provided fluids to the bird and give it emergency Vitamin K treatment, to no avail.

“We gave the bird a great fighting chance and kept it very comfortable. The poison won the battle,” Ellis added. “It is so sad that this majestic creature, which traveled all the way from its Artic tundra to Cape Cod to spend the winter here, was slowly poisoned in its very own environment. Rodenticides are never the answer.”

“I wish that everyone who used these products could see what rodenticide poisoning looks like. These animals come in to us depressed and disoriented. Some can barely hold up their heads. They are anemic and often have extensive bleeding and bruising such as this owl. It is a painful sight to see,” Ellis said.

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