In The News (4)
May 18, 2016
Non-profit wildlife preservation houses wild animals while educating people
RISING SUN, Ind. (Rich Jaffe WKRC) - One of America's most iconic symbols, a bald eagle, is currently being nursed back to health in a local animal rehab facility after being caught in a brutal trap.
Indiana wildlife officials brought the injured bird to the Red Wolf Sanctuary near Rising Sun Tuesday, Feb. 9. Local 12 News got an extraordinary up close and personal view of the efforts to save the bird and a whole lot more.
The dejected looking, mud covered eagle sat quietly in a cage as Red Wolf's Paul Strasser and his team plotted out their plan to help it. The eagle's leg was injured when it got caught in a leghold trap in Rush County, Indiana.
Picking up the bird in his bare hands Strasser explained, "The concern will be if that is dead tissue and it will turn gangrenous which we've had in the past," showing the injury.
First the bird was force fed a couple of mice for sustenance.
"Feel that? Breastbone...That should be like a big turkey breast full of muscle and fat. This bird is starving," said Strasser.
Next the bird was placed in a warm shower to wash the mud off its feathers. Soaking wet, the national symbol still had a quiet dignity. Moments later it was placed in a cage to dry and heal.
Strasser said, "We're kind of on a time crunch because this is the beginning of mating season and if he does or she has a mate or a nest already they will find someone else or they will not breed at all so you could lose potentially three chicks this year."
The hungry eagle was probably after bait placed in the trap. The result was brutal. There was nothing illegal about the leghold traps as long as it was used appropriately. Unfortunately that was not the case as the trap was illegally used to trap a great horned owl. An educational facility that's open for tours, Red Wolf is also home to animals like the friendly fox named Stella. Kim Waxler started volunteering there 9 years ago after her daughters class came for a visit.
She told Local 12 News, "It feels right. The animals are natural, I feel peace and happy. It's just a wonderful thing."
The young bobcats were purring when Local 12 went to see them, and what's a visit to Redwolf without watching Strasser talk to his wolves.
If the eagle recovers quickly, the hope is it will be released back to the wild in 2 or 3 weeks. The sanctuary is 501 C-3 and open for tours and educational visits.
'Emmy' currently unable to eat, fly or survive on her own
RISING SUN, Ind. —Wounded and rescued from a trap, a bald eagle is being nursed back to health at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of Rising Sun, Indiana.
The painstaking recovery project is about to enter its second week and it's impossible to know at this point if it will be successful.
But, if effort and commitment are any indication, the eagle will be flying free again as winter glides into spring.
Right now, the eagle, named Emmy by her caretakers, it is unable to eat, fly or survive on its own.
WLWT News 5's John London watched Monday as Paul Strasser, director of Red Wolf Sanctuary, readied the day's diet, pulling out a bagful of refrigerated mice, injecting one with an antibiotic in the abdominal cavity.
"A fine selection of deer meat can go down and we're going to try some chicken," said Strasser as he worked a cutting board the way a sous-chef would in an upscale restaurant.
Currently, Emmy has to be force-fed. That requires patience and care as well as strength and an exacting exercise of skill.
The beak of an eagle can exert 500 pounds of pressure per square inch.
During the feeding, towels are used to shield Emmy's eyesight from the tempting flesh of fingers and hands.
Somewhere in the warehouse-like sanctuary building is a full supply of band aids as Strasser's hands sport the bloodied nicks, scratches and bites that come with the territory of caring for wild animals.
As he held the eagle's talons with one hand, volunteer Kim Waxler kept a towel over the eagle's head, holding her still as Strasser used his other hand to pry open the side of the eagle's mouth.
Then, Waxler forced the dead mouse or piece of deer meat into the mouth while taking care to not serve finger food, releasing at just the right time.
At one point, Strasser flinched and he groaned with a knowing pain.
"Get ya?" asked Waxler.
"Yeah, she got me," he replied.
The old saying about not biting the hand that feeds you is not honored by bald eagles.
Nor is the necessity of a shower but washing the mud off Emmy was another calibrated maneuver needed to restore her flight ability.
The feathers of her wingspan of more than six feet are still weighted by the mud that covered her when she was brought in.
She was so caked in mud, Strasser couldn't tell she had a white head and a white tail.
Strasser estimates Emmy is about 4 years old. He wants her to gain some weight and for her to start eating on her own so that will be easier to care for her.
"She wants to be left alone," Strasser said as he held the eagle on his lap. "She wants to be free. Birds are not, you know, lovey-dovey animals. I mean, they socialize with their group. But, this bird's whole intent is to kill something, eat it, find a mate and breed."
Emmy, a majestic national symbol, would undoubtedly be dead if not for the care she is receiving at Red Wolf Sanctuary & Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
In an adjoining room, a black-footed fox recently struck by a car was being rehabilitated.
There is virtually no off-day when you run a place that's "dedicated to the preservation of North American predators."
Strasser isn't sure what the leghold trap was out there for, but figures it might have been set with the intent to catch coyotes.
"That's why I don't like leghold traps. They're indiscriminate and animals suffer a great deal," Strasser said.
The nonprofit sanctuary is committed to wildlife preservation and education.
Story by WLWT5. To view video please click here.