Because hunters near the park continue to use lead bullets, despite the availability of alternatives, this eagle suffered a death that countless others have needlessly suffered. Eagles sometimes feed on the remains of animals like deer, and when there are traces of lead bullets left in the bodies of these animals, death begets more death.
"Lead affects the nerves, so that's your brain, your use of muscles, all parts of the body. The birds often cannot stand ... They usually have difficulty breathing. They cannot even open their beaks," Lynn Tompkins, executive director of Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Oregon, who has been trying to save birds from lead poisoning for over 30 years, previously told The Dodo. "Lead ammunition is the biggest source."
Sadly, the case was no different for this golden eagle.
"Levels found in the golden eagle were extremely high and well over lethal toxicity," Yellowstone wrote. "Hunter-provided carrion, especially gut piles, is an important food resource for golden eagles and other avian scavengers."