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FACT to release eagle
 
December 9, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

A golden eagle that was brought to the Facility for Animal Care and Treatment (FACT) at California State University, Bakersfield nearly six months ago will be released back into the wild on Monday, Dec. 13.

The eagle was found and rescued in the Frazier Park area in July by an area resident with help from Dave Hardt of the Kern National Wildlife Refuge, and Bill Asserson, a state Department of Fish and Game biologist, said Marlene Benton, FACT coordinator.

“We’re pretty sure it’s a girl,” Benton said. “It didn’t have injuries per se, but was really, really thin, about half the weight it should have been.”

The man who found her was pretty sure she had hatched in a nearby nest, Benton said. “When she left the nest she didn’t hunt real well, which was why she was so thin. Basically she was starving, and likely wouldn’t have survived another week.”

The bird was taken to Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital for immediate treatment, where Dr. Jennifer McGraw treated the eagle and helped get her to start eating again. After about a week, the eagle was brought to FACT, where she continued her recovery.

“While in rehab she has doubled her weight and become more proficient at catching live prey,” Benton said. “We have given her practice hunting live prey, and she did a really good job. So we know we can let her go because she can now hunt live prey.”

She also said, “We’re excited to be releasing her in the same general area in which she was found. Her instincts will kick in and tell her this is her home territory. Other eagles are in the area to help her adjust to being back in the wild.”

Benton, along with FACT staff, will depart the campus Monday at 1 p.m. for Frazier Park where the eagle will be released.

For more information, please call Benton at (661) 664-3167.

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