After months of investigation, wildlife officials in Maine believe a bald eagle was stabbed and killed by another bird in the first documented animal attack.
“Wow,” said wildlife biologist Danielle D’Auria at the Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, used to describe a bald eagle being stabbed in the heart by a lion last September.
“Word got out that this eagle had been found dead,” D’uria said Friday, explaining how she heard about capers. “I heard it through the loon researchers who have heard it through the executors of wildlife rehabilitation.”
The eagle was found stabbed in his heart after being found in a lake in Bridgton, D’Auria said. A kayaker found the object floating down and called the game attendant to remove it.
The chief jailer who responded thought the eagle had been shot, but after closer inspection for months afterward during necropsy in a lab in New Hampshire, X-rays refuted the theory.
“X-rays show no clues on the eagle, no evidence of being shot,” D’Auria said.
Instead, the researchers focused on measuring what they realized were stab wounds which produced the hypothesis that the culprit was actually the attacking lion.
“Sure enough, people in the lab did all that and the findings were consistent with what we thought,” said D’Auria.
While lons are known to float in waters and make iconic calls, they are also known to be biologists to attack when asked.
D’Auria told NECN and NBC10 Boston that in spring, the birds could become territorial and attack each other.
They are also known to run from underwater and force their sharp beaks on eagles, which sometimes prey on chicks, as happened in Bridgton where a lion girl died with claw marks found near eagles.
“They are really beautiful and peaceful animals, but they are able to defend themselves and be aggressive towards others,” D’Auria explained.
All sizes of eagle wounds indicate it happened, along with witnesses who heard a loud noise from the lake that night.
“From our understanding, this is the first time this has been documented where he actually killed an eagle, a pretty top predator. That’s why it’s quite interesting,” D’Auria said.
Anyone who found a dead eagle in Maine was asked to call the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. The staff will give instructions on how to collect animals or the country will come and make the recovery itself.