UPDATE: Prince Rupert says drowning cause of death for 19 eagles

An organic ‘deleterious material’ was discarded by an unknown party Jan. 4; investigation continues

An eagle perches on a dumpster in downtown Prince Rupert. Nineteen of the regal birds died following the dumping by an unknown party of an “organic material” at the Prince Rupert landfill. Eagles and other wildlife are attracted to places such as dumpsters and landfills for the easy meals they provide. Photo credit: Thom Barker/Black Press Media.

An organic material was the cause of 19 eagles’ deaths at the Prince Rupert landfill, according to the city.

The city says a currently unknown party dumped the organic material at a pond at the landfill on Jan. 4.

“Early results that the City has now received indicate that the material was primarily an organic compound.”

Veronika Stewart, City Communications Manager

After landing on the pond, the city said it believes the material covered the eagles’ wings, eventually causing them to drown.

“Early results that the City has now received indicate that the material was primarily an organic compound,” said city communications manager Veronika Stewart.

“For clarity, the eagles landed on the pond and became coated in the substance and sadly drowned as a result. With current available information, this is believed to be their main cause of death.”

An eagle was captured on camera at a Prince Rupert landfill, as shared by the city on Facebook. In a news release, the city expressed gratitude that the spill was confined to the pond area and did not contaminate the surrounding environment through the outfall. Photo credit: City of Prince Rupert on Facebook

Stewart said the city is still investigating the incident and looking at ways to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

“Staff discovered the spill on January 4 and acted immediately to inform the authorities and begin safe clean up of the site,” she said.

“In the intervening period, the City, relevant ministries and contracted partners have been conducting an investigation of the incident and developing a plan on how to move forward, which is work that is continuing. Our priority now is to get the service restored to the liquid waste collection site.”

More to come.

Story by Seth Forward, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / The Interior News

Written by The Skeena

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