Crowned eagles are one of the largest and most powerful species of birds found in the forests of Africa. But the one in this story was on the road to neglect.
This eagle was captured from the wild and tied up by ropes so that he couldn’t walk or fly. It wouldn’t take long for him to be sold off to someone as a pet in Monrovia, Liberia, where he had been taken to. He was hunched over, scared in the unaccustomed environment as people hurried around him.
Fortunately, an out-of-uniform forestry officer happened to be in the right spot when the men who had captured him announced that they’d sell him.
“The officer told the men he wanted to buy it and directed them to where he’d meet them with the money,” Luke Brannon, manager for Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary, said. “He rang ahead and organized for officers to arrest them.”
Because of the way he was tied and bound, it was apparent that he had been forcefully captured. Despite that, the men claimed they had found the bird on the side of the road and thought he was an owl.
Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary took the eagle to their rescue center that evening, where caretakers quickly learned that the only injury he had was to one of his eyes.
“Upon health checking when we got back, it was clear it had a floating ulcer on its right eye,” Brannon said. “This would require medicated drops four times daily to heal. [But] with the eagle being extremely strong and feisty, coupled with the stress factor, it was decided once, twice daily maximum. ”
Luckily for him, the eagle’s wing and tail feathers were unclipped , unlike many other birds of prey the sanctuary has seized over the years. This meant that he still had a good chance of being released in the wild.
After a few days of treatment, the eagle looked like he was feeling better. He was moving around normally, so Brannon and the team decided to move him to a bigger enclosure to see how he would fly.
“It could fly well and was feeding well,” Brannon said.
After 10 days in the sanctuary, the eagle was finally strong enough to return to his home. The sanctuary staffer was happy to see him take off again. Not every bird brought to the sanctuary could fly again, but this guy was very lucky.
The eagle let out a loud screech after coming back to the spot where he was taken from.
After going through such a tumultuous ordeal, the bird didn’t waste any time going back to his old life. He immediately spread his wings and took flight.
The sight was breathtaking to say the least!
“Taking flight into the forest was something truly special to witness,” Brannon said. “We’re thankful to the FDA [Forestry Development Authority], as without their collaboration and quick thinking, this eagle would have either been sold for meat, or as a pet, both of which are illegal.”
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