The Toronto Wildlife Centre got a call a few days ago, after someone saw the two-year-old eagle trapped near New Lowell, Ont., about 120 kilometres northwest of the city. The bird was caught in a leg-hold trap designed to catch coyotes.
The eagle was brought to the Toronto facility, where staff have been treating it for the past three days. But the bird has suffered an injury to its foot, as a result of the trapping.
Lisa Fosco, the wildlife rehabilitation manager at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, said there hasn't been much good news to report so far.
"She's on day three and we haven't seen too much progress yet," Fosco told CBC News in an interview.
Fosco said an eagle relies on using its talons to survive in the wild.
"The reason this is such a big issue for a bird like an eagle is because they use their talons not only to hunt, but as their fork and knife. That's what they eat with, that’s what they hunt with, that's what they tear their prey with," Fosco said. "So there's no way that she could possibly survive without being able to eat."
Nathalie Karvonen, the executive director, admits she and her fellow staff are worried about what will happen to the eagle currently in their care.
"We'll do everything we can to help her," she said. "We do have a great team of veterinarians including some specialists, but at the end of the day, it’s going to really come down to how much damage has actually been done in that leg and on that foot."
Karvonen said that to her knowledge, the Toronto Wildlife Centre has dealt with bald eagles on only a handful of prior occasions.
"Bald eagles in Ontario tend to be in more remote areas where they don't have as much interaction with cars and windows and hydro lines ... and they don't tend to get injured in nature so much," she said.
The eagle is one of about 140 animals currently being treated at the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Karvonen said this is about half the number of animals it will have at peak times of the year.
"In the summer, we can have between 300 and 400 animals at any one time in here, sometimes even more than that," she said.