Wildlife Center to release bald eagle in Virginia Beach on Tuesday

wildlife-center2The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release a juvenile Bald Eagle on Tuesday, July 8 at 11:00 a.m. near the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

The release is free and open to the public.  Attendees are asked to gather in the East Parking Lot of the Virginia Aquarium.  Individuals who wish to attend the eagle release are asked to RSVP to the Center at ksluiter@wildlifecenter.org.

Participating in the release will be Ed Clark, Co-founder and President of the Wildlife Center.

This juvenile Bald Eagle was found down on the ground in Sandbridge on May 12; the eagle was unable to fly and was easily captured.  The eagle was brought to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro on May 14 by a volunteer transporter and assigned Patient #14-0687 – the 687th patient admitted during 2014.  The one-year-old bird was thin and dehydrated; blood work revealed a mildly low level of protein, likely due to poor nutrition.  The eagle also had an old, healing retinal scar in its left eye that does not affect its vision.  The eagle was given fluids, anti-inflammatories, and several days of supportive care and cage rest.

By May 20, the eagle was moved to an outdoor enclosure.  The eagle has spent the past few weeks in the Center’s outdoor flight pens.  The eagle has been one of the Wildlife Center patients on Critter Cam – the Center’s web-based live camera feed.

Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising Bald Eagle #14-0687 for several weeks; they have determined that the eagle is fit and ready to be returned to the wild.

It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement.  With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted.  In 1977, for example, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia.

Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound.  There are now more than 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wildlife Center has treated scores of Bald Eagles, done extensive studies of environmental factors that affect eagles and other wildlife, and worked to reform laws and regulations to strengthen the protection afforded to Bald Eagles.  In addition to the bird to be released on Tuesday, the Center is currently treating seven Bald Eagle patients.

Every year, about 2,600 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.  The goal of the Center is “to treat to release” – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine.  Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 65,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In July 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, which has allowed wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including #14-0687.  Animals that are currently “featured” on one of the three Critter Cam feeds are Black Bears; Barred, Eastern Screech, and Great Horned Owls; Bald Eagles; and Buttercup, a charismatic resident Black Vulture.  A link to Critter Cam may be found on the Center’s homepage – www.wildlifecenter.org.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is a public/private partnership between the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  The mission of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center is to inspire conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices.  Additional information about the Aquarium is available at: http://www.virginiaaquarium.com/


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