Green Country wildlife rescue launches campaign to help save eagles from lead poisoning

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. — A Green Country wildlife rescue is launching a campaign to help save eagles from lead poisoning.

Wild Heart Ranch in Rogers County said they’re seeing more eagles die from lead left behind by hunters and fishers.

Daniel Hardt has worked at Wild Heart Ranch for 13 years. He said bald eagles are more susceptible to lead poisoning than any other animal in the U.S.

“In the first week of this year there was a bald eagle on the east coast, a bald eagle in the west coast and one right here with us that all had lead poisoning, and all had to be put down, yes it’s a pandemic, we need to get lead out of the wild,” he said.

Hardt said one part per million of lead in an eagle will kill them. An eagle they recent looked after at the ranch had eight times that amount in his system.

“It will slowly start shutting their organs down,” Hardt said.

Hardt said lead gets inside the eagles when they eat ammo in carcasses that hunters left behind and sinkers that fishers leave behind.

“It’s, you know, the symbol of our nations freedom, the bald eagle, and we just don’t care enough to keep lead out of the wild to keep them alive,” he said.

Wild Heart Ranch has launched a new campaign called, ‘The Clay Project’, named after the eagle who died, to try to get people to stop using lead sinkers while fishing.

Anyone can go to Wild Heart Ranch, drop off their lead sinker in a box outside and then pick up an alternative, with there being tin, steel and tungsten versions available.

Hardt is calling on the community to step up and help the eagles.

“Keeping lead in the wild is slowing killing off the bad eagles, it’s a symbol of our nation, every time somebody goes out with lead into the wild they are threatening a part of our nation, it’s not worth it,” he said.

Hardt said he’d like to see more laws brought in to stop lead getting into nature.


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