Crews rescue internet-famous bald eaglet caught in fishing line

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. (WPLG) – Rescue crews and zoo experts in Florida saved a bald eaglet that became an internet star thanks to a livestreaming camera.

“It’s been such a great story,” Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill said.

Thanks to a livestream camera, Ron and Rita have had an audience as they build their nest in October and successfully lay two eggs, the eaglets named R1 and R2.

Getting up to that point has been harsh for the eagles, like when a storm knocked out their nest last year killing one of their eaglets.

The misfortunes prompted help from Magill and Lloyd Brown from Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, who have been following their every move.

On Saturday, Magill noticed something was wrong. A fishing line was attached to R2′s foot, preventing her from flying.

“That fishing line could not only cut off the circulation and tear her foot off, but it could eventually kill her,” Magill said. “We had to make an extreme decision to go up and to try to free her, and that’s something you do as a last-ditch effort to save her life.”

R2 managed to fly, but forcefully, and she still had the line attached to her foot.

So, rescuers went out to grab her again, brought her in to remove the line, and kept her for observation.

Crews went out for a second time with their bucket to place her back in her nest where she has been ever since.

Now the concern is if she will fly on her own after such a traumatic weekend.

“We are very hopeful that she is now going to make a full recovery,” Magill said.

Magill also hopes fishermen learn an important lesson from this ordeal.

“Fishermen especially, need to be aware of what they do with their excess line,” Magill said. “Don’t toss line, make sure you contain it and dispose of it properly because fishing line is incredibly dangerous to native wildlife.”

Researchers say the longest lifespan of a bald eagle in the wild is 39 years.

Those who live in captivity often live longer due to veterinary care and fewer hazards.

Copyright 2022 WPLG via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.

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