Eagles recovering after disastrous dive into fish truck

Most of the 30 raptors rescued in Kodiak will survive, officials say

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Most of the 30 eagles who survived a disastrous dive into a truck full of fish guts are close to recovery, said officials at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

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They say two birds have died, but most have perked up and may soon be released.

Another 20 eagles died after the birds mobbed the uncovered truck at Ocean Beauty Seafoods on Friday.

Workers from the seafood plant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service washed the birds in dishwashing soap to help remove the fish oil. The birds spent the night drying out in a warehouse space, Gary Wheeler of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge told the Anchorage Daily News.

There was some concern that the birds would have to be sent to Anchorage for further treatment at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, but most appeared to be doing well in Kodiak, he said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating the incident. Eagles are protected under federal law and killing them is a crime.

It is still too early to determine what penalties, if any, the seafood company may undergo, said Kim Speckman, a special agent who is part of the investigation.

Officers consider numerous factors looking into incidents such as this, including intent, she said.

"It's pretty obvious in this case nobody intended to break the law," Speckman said. The seafood plant has been very responsive and cooperative, she said.

A call to the Ocean Beauty Seafoods plant on Sunday was not returned.

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