Australia Zoo rescue wedge-tailed eagle from Gympie property

AUSTRALIA Zoo Wildlife Hospital has treated an amazing range of animals over the years but few as majestic as Brady, a huge and handsome wedge-tailed eagle rescued from a property at Curra, north of Gympie, this week.

The adult bird was found caught in a feral animal trap on a private property near Brady's Rd on Tuesday.

The trap had caught him around the ankles (or hocks).

The owner of the property was immediately concerned for his welfare and called the Australia Zoo Rescue Unit for help.

A hospital spokeswoman said yesterday Brady was alert when he arrived at the hospital but his hocks were noticeably red raw.

He was anaesthetised so his injuries could be cleaned and treated with saline before he was given pain relief medication, fluids and antibiotics to aid recovery.

Thankfully, x-rays showed no fractures.

The spokeswoman said Brady was about three years old and weighed 3.5kg.

"Although he is an impressive size, the males are actually the smaller of the species," she said.

"He will remain at the wildlife hospital for a few more days under close observation for infection. Once his wounds heal, the rescue unit will transport him back to Gympie for release."

Wedge-tailed eagles are the largest birds of prey in Australia, with wingspans up to 2.8m.

The raptors are a protected species throughout all of Australia, but their numbers are secure on the mainland.

They generally feed on rabbits, wallabies and small kangaroos, usually plucked from open ground.

In the early 20th century thousands of wedge-tails were destroyed because they were thought to attack sheep.

Bounties were offered for dead eagles, and large numbers were poisoned or shot - 162,430 in Queensland in 1951-1966. However it was subsequently proved they only attack poor, dying or dead lambs.

Indirect poisoning through dingo baits and pesticides continues to be a major hazard.

Fast facts

 The wedge-tailed eagle is the most common of the world's large eagles.

 It is Australia's largest living bird of prey.

 It has benefited by the opening of forests in eastern Australia and the increased availability of rabbits.

 Breeding season is April to September.

 Wedge-tailed eagles are monogamous and apparently mate for life.

 They are found throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea.

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