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Effort to save wounded bald eagle has sad ending

Published On: Jan 31 2014 11:02:45 AM CST
Injured bald eagle

Patrick Manwiller/69 News

WAYNE TWP., Pa. -

A bald eagle that was found badly wounded in the wild has lost his battle to survive.

The male eagle had to be euthanized Wednesday night after a bone shattered during leg surgery, said Peggy Hentz, director of theĀ Red Creek Wildlife Center, where the bird was being cared for since it was discovered in Lebanon County, suffering from lead poisoning, a broken leg and about 100 puncture wounds.

"Each one of the things that happened to him could have ended up killing him," Hentz told WFMZ's Liz Kilmer in December for a story on the center's treatment efforts. "The numerous punctures was enough to knock him down."

Hentz said she believes the eagle fell prey to another animal, likely another male bald eagle during a territorial dispute. She said she suspects the eagle was weak beforehand from lead poisoning, most commonly obtained through consumption.

The alternative to euthanizing the bald eagle, Hentz said, would have been to amputate his injured leg, but she added that bald eagles typically can't survive with only one leg.

The center rescued another bald eagle last year. That bird recovered well enough to be released back into the wild.