According to an article by the Baltimore Sun, 25 bald eagles have been poisoned in Maryland’s Delmarva Peninsula in the last 3 years, 7 alone since March 1st of this year.
The cause? A banned pesticide called carbofuran, which was previously sold in the U.S. under the trade name Furadan.
Carbofuran was first banned by the EPA in granular form in the early 90’s due to links to widespread bird deaths, and finally banned in any form in 2009 due to concerns that there was no safe tolerance levels for crops.
Lab testing has confirmed the eagles’ deaths by this banned chemical. Authorities believe that old stocks of carbofuran are being used to kill vertebrate farm pests, which then in turn poison the eagles and other birds who scavenge from the poisoned carrion. Maryland Natural Resources Police are hard pressed to say whether the eagle deaths were caused unwittingly or intentionally. However, federal pesticide laws entirely restrict the use of any unlicensed or banned pesticide, and such products must be disposed of properly immediately after such restrictions are put in place.
Whether the deaths were purposeful or not, killing our nation’s bird by any means results in paying a hefty price: penalties enforced by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act carry fines of up to $250,000 or two years in prison.
Authorities in Maryland are looking for anyone with information regarding the use of carbofuran to come forward – they have offered a $10,000 reward for information and the American Bird Conservancy has pledged to add $5,000 to the reward as well.
From the Baltimore Sun: “Anyone with information about the poisonings is asked to contact Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers by calling or texting 443-433-4112, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or reporting violations using the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ free mobile app.”
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