Eagle saved from cruel attempt to domesticate

Dr Donely and Eva the eagle, who is in care at the UQ Veterinary Medical Centre.
Dr Donely and Eva the eagle, who is in care at the UQ Veterinary Medical Centre.

A WEDGE-TAILED eagle rescued from a roadside is thought to have survived an attempt to domesticate her by removing her talons and a toe.

The juvenile bird is being cared for at UQ's Gatton campus by specialist avian veterinarian Associate Professor Bob Doneley.

Dr Doneley said Eva the eagle was rescued by a farmer and the Granite Belt Wildlife Carers group and initially was treated at Stanthorpe Veterinary Care Services.

"It appears someone may have tried to domesticate Eva by cutting her talons to keep her from scratching or injuring when handled by humans," Dr Doneley said.

"As a result, both her feet were swollen and painful and her left hallux - the big toe at the back - has been clipped so short that the last bone in the toe has been cut off and her right hock joint is mildly unstable.

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Unable to use her right foot, Eva was standing mostly on her left foot, where she had developed pressure sores from the stress.

Dr Doneley, one of only two bird medicine specialists in Queensland, consulted with Professor Patrick Redig of the University of Minnesota Raptor Centre, a world leader in the treatment of this type of bird.

"She will need hospital care for six to eight weeks, followed by six to 12 months of rehabilitation, before she can be released back into the wild."

Staff at the centre are dealing with a rising number of injured wildlife cases.

"They are brought in after collisions with cars or attacks by cats, dogs or feral animals," Dr Doneley said.

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"We also regularly see evidence of human attempts at domestication, despite the protection of these animals by legislation.

"These attempts often result in the serious injury or death of the animals."

The UQ Veterinary Medical Centre receives no government funding to treat injured wildlife, and relies on community donations and in-kind support.

Donations can be made at www.uq.edu.au/giving/donations/fund/School_of_Veterinary_Science.

Anyone finding injured wildlife, should call 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625), to reach a state-wide service linking callers local wildlife care groups.


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