“No longer bound by your infirmities on earth
you now fly free on wings of the spirit
caged no more”
© Julie Rehnelt 2014
I was so sad to learn today that Leuc, a bald eagle at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine died this week. My daughter and I had just visited him and the other raptors at the center in January, when I snapped the above photo of him. Such an amazing, majestic creature, my amateur photography doesn’t do justice to this truly remarkable animal.
I follow the Raptor Center on Facebook and came across the following article while going through my news-feed this morning… http://www.startribune.com/opinion/letters/254819501.html So sad.
To let you know a bit more about Leuc, I copied and pasted the below information about him from the Raptor Center’s website, I imagine they’ll be changing/updating their write-up of him now that he has passed.
Leuc was found in Hayward, Wis., alongside a highway with an injured right wing. A veterinarian in Hayward received the bird and cared for him for a few months, but it became apparent that his wing was not healing normally. The eagle was admitted to The Raptor Center on August 31, 1983. A physical exam and x-rays revealed that his right shoulder joint had been severely injured and had healed in a way that limited the wing’s range of movement. Unfortunately, Leuc would never fly again. He was transferred to the education department and named “Leuc” in reference to the bald eagle’s scientific name, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. Leuc was a very popular ambassador bird and frequently traveled to offsite programs. A news article from the late 1990s describes him as The Raptor Center’s most-photographed eagle. Unfortunately, in March 1999, Leuc started showing signs of lameness. An x-ray revealed a small lump in the flexor tendon, above the left hock joint. Despite being taken off display for a number of weeks, there were no signs of improvement, so on May 4, Leuc underwent surgery in which a pea-sized mass was removed. The mass was part of a “fibrosarcoma,” or cancerous tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor would cause permanent lameness. Radiation was the best option. Although there was little known about cancer treatment in raptors, Leuc’s treatment was successful and subsequent radiographs showed the mass was gone. Leuc is retired from programs now, but continues to educate in his new home—his display mew—in the lobby of The Raptor Center.
So sad is the loss of this lovely creature, but he’s free now, as an eagle should be…
✿~Peace & Love~✿