Eagle Death Toll Now at 22 After Mishap

Bald Eagles Recovering After Disastrous Dive Into Alaska Fish Truck; Death Toll at 22

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska Jan 13, 2008 (AP)

Most of the 30 bald eagles who survived a disastrous dive into a truck full of fish guts are close to recovery, said officials at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

They say two birds have died, but most of the remaining have perked up and may soon be released. Another 20 eagles died after the birds mobbed the uncovered truck at Ocean Beauty Seafoods on Friday.

Workers from the seafood plant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service washed the birds in dishwashing soap to help remove the fish oil. The birds spent the night drying out in a warehouse space, Gary Wheeler of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge told the Anchorage Daily News.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating the incident.

Eagles are protected under federal law and killing them is a crime.

It is still to early to determine what penalties, if any, the seafood company may face, said Kim Speckman, a special agent who is part of the investigation.

Officers consider numerous factors looking into incidents such as this, including intent, she said.

"It's pretty obvious in this case nobody intended to break the law," Speckman said. The seafood plant has been very responsive and cooperative, she said.

A call to the Ocean Beauty Seafoods plant on Sunday was not returned.

Reference Link: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=4128995

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