Beloved bald eagle leaves Atlantic Veterinary College
It was a morning of mixed emotions at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), as the AVC’s Wildlife Service prepared to bring bald eagle 450, otherwise known as “Buddy,” to his new home at Hope for Wildlife.
The eagle came to AVC in October 2021, after presumably being hit by a car. After a spinal surgery that would be the second of its kind in the world, he was able to stand and perch on his own and fly short distances. Unfortunately, after many months of recovery, it was determined that his wing injuries caused a permanent flight impediment and he would never be able to fly long distances. This meant that he would not be a viable candidate for release.
As a result, he has found a permanent home at Hope for Wildlife, a centre that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases wild animals in Atlantic Canada. To accommodate his needs the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), AVC, and Hope for Wildlife, partnered on a campaign to build a new flight enclosure.
“Our Wildlife Service, specifically Buddy, was fortunate to be named the recipient of UPEI’s Giving Tuesday campaign this past November,” explains Dr. John VanLeeuwen, interim dean, AVC. “Through generous donations, we received enough support to build this enclosure and ensure that Buddy has a safe and happy home in Nova Scotia.”
Dr. Lara Cusack, assistant professor of the Zoo, Exotic, and Wildlife (ZEW) Service, Department of Companion Animals, AVC, and Fiep de Bie, wildlife technician, led the transfer on Friday morning. Also assisting was Dr. Giuliana Obeid, ZEW intern, and Dillon Scott and Raelyn McCurdy, both doctor of veterinary medicine students. Additionally, Elder Junior Peter Paul, Mi’kmaq elder, blessed the eagle prior to leaving, and sang and drummed Eagle Song.
“In an ideal world, Buddy would have been a candidate for release, as is the hope with all wildlife rescue and rehabilitation,” says Dr. VanLeeuwen. “But this is a great secondary option for him, and we look forward to seeing him have a good quality of life in his new home.”