Wildlife Center of Virginia to Release Bald Eagle on Thursday June 26

Eagle Will Be Released at Land’s End Wildlife Management Area 

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release an adult Bald Eagle on Thursday, June 26 at 11:00 a.m. at Land’s End Wildlife Management Area in King George.

The release is free and open to the public. Please meet at the Land’s End parking area. Individuals who wish to attend the eagle release are asked to RSVP to the Center at ksluiter@wildlifecenter.org.

Participating in the release will be Ed Clark, Co-founder and President of the Wildlife Center.

This Bald Eagle was found on the side of the road in King George County on May 1; it appears likely that the eagle had been scavenging on road-kill when it was hit by a vehicle. The eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center and assigned Patient #14-0450 – the 450th patient of 2014. The eagle was given anti-inflammatories and pain medication. Blood tests found low levels of lead; although the bird showed no symptoms of lead toxicity, the vet staff started the bird on a five-day chelation therapy to reduce lead levels.

Follow-up blood work on May 6 found decreased lead levels, and the eagle was moved to an outdoor enclosure. The eagle has spent the past few weeks in the Center’s outdoor flight pens. The eagle has been one of the Wildlife Center patients on Critter Cam – the Center’s web-based live camera feed.

Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising Bald Eagle #14-0450 for several weeks; they have determined that the eagle is fit and ready to be returned to the wild.
It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement. With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted. In 1977, for example, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia.

Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound. There are now more than 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wildlife Center has treated scores of Bald Eagles, done extensive studies of environmental factors that affect eagles and other wildlife, and worked to reform laws and regulations to strengthen the protection afforded to Bald Eagles. In addition to the bird to be released on Thursday, the Center is currently treating seven Bald Eagle patients.

Every year, about 2,600 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care. The goal of the Center is “to treat to release” – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 65,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In July 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, which has allowed wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including #14-0450. Patients that are currently “featured” on one of the three Critter Cam feeds are Black Bears, Eastern Screech or Great Horned Owls, and Bald Eagles. A link to Critter Cam may be found on the Center’s homepage – www.wildlifecenter.org.

Land’s End Wildlife Management Area is a 430-acre site, situated on the Nanzattico Bay of the Rappahannock River, owned by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Land’s End is also just a few miles from the site of #14-0450’s May 1 rescue. Land’s End lays claim to hosting the densest Bald Eagle breeding population in the lower 48 states. Additional information about Land’s End is available at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wmas/detail.asp?pid=5

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Note to the Press: Media representatives are invited to attend the release. Please contact Randy Huwa at 540.942.9453 or at rhuwa@wildlifecenter.org to RSVP.

Photos of patients treated at the Wildlife Center, including the Bald Eagle to be released on Thursday, are available. Please contact Randy Huwa at 540.942.9453 or at rhuwa@wildlifecenter.org.

Directions to Land’s End are available on the Management Area’s website, at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wmas/detail.asp?pid=5. The address for the Management Area is 17295 Nanzatico Lane, King George, VA 22485.