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U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service Facts on Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning in Wildlife Presented by: U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service and National Fish &Wildlife.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service Facts on Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning in Wildlife Presented by: U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service and National Fish &Wildlife."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service Facts on Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning in Wildlife Presented by: U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service and National Fish &Wildlife Foundation

2 Improper disposal gives scavenging animals access to carcasses. Each year, a number of eagles, other wildlife, and dogs are poisoned after eating tissues of pentobarbital euthanized carcasses. P hoto Courtesy of Dr. Richard Stroud/USFWS

3 In recent years, at least 140 bald and golden eagles have been intoxicated after eating pentobarbital- tainted carcasses. Photo Courtesy of USFWS

4 John Rawls/USFWS Most of these birds died at the carcass site.

5 Others wandered into traffic, drowned, or were killed by predation, mobbing attacks, or electrocution after contact with power lines. Peter Carboni/USFWS

6 ● Most reported cases involve eagles. ● All scavenging animals are potentially at risk if they have access to a pentobarbital-tainted carcass. Which animals are affected by secondary poisoning?

7 A variety of other species have been poisoned, including domestic dogs. USFWS Gary Stolz/ USFWS James Leupold/ USFWS Dr. Kirsten Krueger/Habitat & Animal Health Concern

8 Other Susceptible Avian Scavengers ● California condors ● Vultures ● Hawk species ● Wood storks ● Gulls ● Crows ● Ravens Gary Kramer/ USFWS

9 Susceptible Mammalian Scavengers ● Bears ● Martens & fishers ● Lynxes ● Foxes ● Bobcats ● Cougars Jim Frates/ USFWS

10 Carcasses of euthanized large animals are inadvertently left exposed on farms or ranches Poor communication between veterinarian & animal owner Owner does not realize carcass is poisonous Other sources of secondary poisoning Small animal carcasses deposited in landfills Carcasses acquired to feed captive carnivores How do animals gain access to poisoned carcasses?

11 In many instances, euthanized carcasses were left out in the field to be scavenged. A golden eagle died after feeding on this carcass. Steve Magone/ USFWS

12 In other cases, landfill scavengers have been poisoned by carcasses that were not quickly covered over. Andy Buhl/ USFWS

13 Poisonings due to accidental feeding of tainted meat to captive animals have also been reported. Larry Moats/ USFWS Gary Stolz/ USFWS USFWS Gary Stolz/ USFWS

14 Poisoning of eagles or other wild birds, even if accidental, violates Federal law! Jamie Richie/ USFWS

15 Applicable Federal wildlife protection laws include: Migratory Bird Treaty Act Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Endangered Species Act Photo Courtesy of USFWS

16 Federal Wildlife Protection Laws Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) protects virtually all wild avian species in North America, including parts, eggs & nests. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) protects eagles and their parts, eggs & nests. Endangered Species Act (ESA) protects threatened & endangered species & critical habitat.

17 What are the possible penalties for violating these laws? Penalties sought are based on the circumstances surrounding a case. The laws provide for substantial fines and prison sentences in criminal cases. For example, the maximum fine for violating the Eagle Act is $100,000 for a person or $200,000 for an organization and one year in prison. Civil fines up to $25,000 are also possible.

18 How is liability determined under Federal wildlife laws? Under MBTA, “intent” is not required for criminal conviction. A person who poisons a bird, even unintentionally, may be held criminally liable. Under ESA and Eagle Act, unintentionally poisoning a protected species is a civil violation. Criminal convictions under ESA & Eagle Act require that violation be “knowingly” committed.

19 Who is liable when a protected species dies from secondary pentobarbital poisoning? Veterinarians may be liable under MBTA, ESA, and Eagle Act for poisoning a protected species. In recent cases, both livestock owner & attending veterinarian have been fined for “involuntary killing” of eagles.

20 How can secondary poisoning be prevented? ● If possible, incinerate carcasses. ● Alternatively, immediately bury carcasses deeply in the field. ● When ground is frozen, cover or store carcasses to prevent access by scavenging animals. ● Review and modify local landfill practices to prevent scavenger access to euthanized carcasses.

21 ● Notify clients about need for proper carcass disposal. ● Label carcasses with a prominent “POISON” tag. ● Include a carcass disposal warning on the euthanasia consent form. © Habitat & Animal Health Concern How can veterinarians prevent secondary poisonings?

22 Veterinarians must inform clients that a pentobarbital- euthanized carcass is poisonous and requires proper disposal. The client needs to know that the carcass can poison and kill scavenging animals, including federally protected species, other wildlife, or even pet dogs. Photo Courtesy of USFWS

23 Euthanasia by pentobarbital injection is a humane way to end the suffering of a sick animal. But this compassionate act can cause the premature deaths of other animals if the euthanized carcass is left exposed. Only veterinarians may use pentobarbital euthanasia preparations. They must make every effort to keep this poison from harming other animals. Gary Stolz/USFWS

24 For further information, read the USFWS Fact Sheet on Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning in Wildlife or contact your local USFWS law enforcement office. Mike Lockart/ USFWS

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