TULSA, Okla. (Feb. 21, 2018) – On Saturday, Feb. 17, the Tulsa Zoo received an injured bald eagle from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The bird had a severe injury to the very tip of its right wing, requiring surgery and supportive care.
Upon examination, the Tulsa Zoo veterinary staff diagnosed the tip of the right wing as necrotic with permanent tissue damage. X-rays did not show metallic shrapnel, which would confirm a gunshot wound. The damage to the wing tip was severe enough to require amputation.
An injury of this nature, to the very tip of the wing where many of the flight feathers originate, will prevent the eagle from flying.
The zoo’s animal health team found other injuries, to the left wing and on the toe, that were consistent with a fall, perhaps received after the first injury. The secondary injuries do not fit the diagnostic of gunshot wounds.
The bald eagle was in good body condition upon arrival at the Tulsa Zoo veterinary hospital, not suffering from malnutrition or dehydration. Animal health staff estimate she sustained the injury 1 to 3 days before receiving treatment.
After recovery, the Tulsa Zoo will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department to secure permanent housing and care for the bald eagle, through an Association of Zoos and Aquariums institution or other federally licensed facility.
The bald eagles currently at the Tulsa Zoo are wildlife rehab animals, found injured in Oklahoma. Their injuries have limited their ability to fly, and they would be unable to survive outside of human care. The eagles serve as ambassadors for their species, allowing zoo guests an up-close view of our national symbol.
About the found Bald Eagle
The bald eagle brought to the zoo weighs 12 lbs. (5.5 kg), at the higher end of the expected body weight for this species. From this information, the veterinary staff feel certain the bird is a female. As a mature female, with the white feathers of adult plumage, veterinary staff estimate her to be more than 5 years old, but cannot determine her exact age.