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Wildlife expert “wouldn’t rule out” eagles snatching small dogs

By Alisa Howlett/News staff

A story about two eagles consecutively snatching up two Pomeranians in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park has been circulating via social media.

First posted to the Facebook group Victoria Dog Owners, the story goes like this: “one eagle swooped in and took the first dog and as the lady was trying to get to it a second eagle swooped in and got her other dog,” Kim Ingram, a member of the group, wrote on Wednesday, June 14, trying to warn others about what she’d heard.

So far, a story is all it is. The PNR has not been able to connect with the alleged dog owner to verify the information, but Ingram says her step mother is the one who first mentioned it to her and her mom is tight with the dog walking community and knows all the park gossip.

Another post to the group, dating back to May 28, says an eagle took a small Chihuahua at Island View Beach in Central Saanich about two weeks prior to the date.

Rumours or not, a British Columbia-based wildlife biologist with a background in ornithology says he wouldn’t rule out the likeliness of the situation.

“It’s been known to happen. There’s been a few nests in the area with remnants of cat collars and cat fur,” says Myles Lamont, who’s also a member of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation that operates live-streaming Eagle Cams in some 400 locations. “A big female is certainly capable of that.”

Myles says what’s in question is if the birds are intentionally preying on the small, furry animals. He adds that bald eagles are much more scavengers than hunters of live animals, except for maybe fish.

Vancouver Island is considered a part of one of the most important paths of migratory birds, bald eagles included. The south coast of the province sees a higher density of bald eagles with approximately 30,000 birds passing through every year, twice a year, says Myles, no where else in the world experiences those densities.

Another contributing factor might be the loss of nesting areas. The eagles are forced to go elsewhere and potentially prey on things otherwise not typical for them, Myles says.

“These sorts of things can definitely happen,” says Myles. “I recommend people keeping their dogs on short leashes, keeping them close.”

Myles did say, however, that it does seem a bit unusual that this so-called incident wasn’t captured on video, given people’s attachment to smartphones and penchant for buzz-worthy happenings.

If you are the owner of the two Pomeranians, the PNR still wants to chat.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Wire Service

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