Sudbury hunters free bald eagle from leg-hold trap

Facebook photoA bald eagle is flying free today after two brothers in Sudbury, Ontario released him from a leg-hold trap last week.

The CBC reported on the story, which was posted across social and traditional media over the weekend. Neil and Michael Fletcher, two brothers from Sudbury, were hunting when they saw several crows circling. Investigation by the duo revealed a bald eagle – a species of special concern in Ontario – caught in a leg-hold trap.

"It was relieving to see that it was still alive,"Neil told the CBC."I knew we had to do something right away. As soon as he realized we were trying to help he kind of calmed down a little bit.His head would kind of move back and forth tolook at us, but that was the most he'd do.”

Eventually the brothers were able to release the eagle (after first covering his head with a sweater) and, as modern times would necessitate, pose for a selfie with their rescued friend before he flew off.

What the article by the CBC didn’t state, however, is that what the Fletcher brothers did was likely a crime – interfering with a trap line became a criminal offence under the now defunct Harper government. In the past, when stories of people rescuing coyotes or other fur-bearing animals left behind have hit the news, trappers associations have pointed this fact out – perhaps their own claims of by-catch not being an issue (which was disproved with this story) have quieted them down.

If a bald eagle was trapped, it also means other birds of prey, including those much more vulnerable to population declines, could be trapped, maimed, or killed. Though this story had a happy ending, it’s an indication of just how many horrible losses we may never hear of.

Photo from Facebook (public domain)


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