Wildlife officials are in a mad race to diagnose a mystery disease that has claimed the life of more than 16 bald eagles in northern Utah since the beginning of this month. Approximately 50% of the birds were already dead when found, while the remaining half showed symptoms including paralysis in the legs and head tremors and had to be euthanized within 3-4 days.
“We can’t begin to guess what’s wrong,” stated DaLyn Erickson-Marthaler, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilation Center of Northern Utah, who noted that results from blood work and toxicology screenings still won’t be available for several weeks.
“If we start focusing on one thing right now, we are liable to miss something entirely,” she added.
Thousands of bald eagles migrate to Utah each winter, especially around the Great Salt Lake where there is an abundance of carp available to feed on eat in freshwater bays.
In the meantime, wildlife officials are cautioning anyone who comes across a sick or dead eagle not to touch the bird, and to contact authorities immediately.