Trap claims eagle's life

The wedge-tailed eagle that had to be euthanised after being found caught in a rabbit trap.

The wedge-tailed eagle that had to be euthanised after being found caught in a rabbit trap.

VETERINARIANS have euthanised a wedge-tailed eagle found caught in a rabbit trap.

Warrnambool Wildlife Rescue Group co-ordinator Tracey Wilson said the distressed bird was found trapped by the leg last week at Cudgee.

“They called the Wildlife Victoria hotline, who notified local rescuers,” she said. 

“The trap had taken a couple of its talons off,” Ms Wilson said. “The whole leg would have had to be amputated, but the vet decided it would be best to euthanise the bird.” 

On its website, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries says the use of leg-hold traps is regulated under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation, but there are strict guidelines about the features legal traps must have. 

“The jaws of leg-hold traps must be smooth and not serrated,” the department says. “Each jaw of the trap must be padded with commercially-manufactured rubber pads designed to be used for the particular brand, size and design of the trap. 

“There must be a spring in the anchor chain of the trap to act as a shock absorber for the purposes of reducing the chance of injury to the captured limb. 

“The anchor chain must also have a minimum of two swivels, with one located at each end of the anchor chain, so that the trap can twist if the animal struggles to escape. 

“The jaw of the trap must be offset so there is a distance of at least six millimetres between the metal parts of the jaws when the jaws are closed.” 

Regulations only allow leg-hold traps for rabbits, foxes and wild dogs.

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