Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut September 23, 2016 - 10:00 am

Nunavut hunter saves injured bald eagle

“I would have let it die but I like eagles... big, strong and beautiful”

LISA GREGOIRE
Watch that finger... a bald eagle, found injured on the land by Arviat hunter Cedric Manik, recuperates at the wildlife office in that Kivalliq community before being released the following day. (PHOTO BY GORDY KIDLAPIK)
Watch that finger... a bald eagle, found injured on the land by Arviat hunter Cedric Manik, recuperates at the wildlife office in that Kivalliq community before being released the following day. (PHOTO BY GORDY KIDLAPIK)
The five-year-old female bald eagle had been banded in Michigan in 2011. Hunter Cedric Manik, who brought her home when he found her injured, fed her chunks of caribou meat on the way to maintain her strength. (PHOTO BY GORDY KIDLAPIK)
The five-year-old female bald eagle had been banded in Michigan in 2011. Hunter Cedric Manik, who brought her home when he found her injured, fed her chunks of caribou meat on the way to maintain her strength. (PHOTO BY GORDY KIDLAPIK)

Cedric Manik is a full-time hunter, husband and father of four in Arviat, but on Sept. 18, while out on the land, he decided to become an animal-saver instead.

Manik told Nunatsiaq News he was about seven hours by all-terrain vehicle outside of Arviat and heading home after hunting caribou with his cousin last weekend when they spotted five bald eagles on the edge of a lake.

When he approached, four flew off but one was unable to fly. It seemed to have something wrong with its right wing, he said Sept. 22 on the phone from Arviat.

Manik called Joe Savikataaq Jr., Arviat’s wildlife officer, who asked if the bird was dying. When Manik said no, that it was still very alive, Savikataaq Jr. told him if he wanted to, he could transport it back Arviat.

So Manik wrapped the eagle in a tarp and parka to keep it warm during the long drive back to town and stopped a few times to hand-feed it chunks of caribou meat from an animal he had harvested.

The bird kept pecking at his arm, Manik said, so he had to temporarily tape its beak shut.

When he got the bird back to town Sunday evening, he showed it to his wife and children, and then delivered it to Savikataaq Jr.’s office, Manik said.

Once word spread of the town’s exotic visitor, people flocked to the wildlife office to have a look and to take photos.

Manik said the bird didn’t eat much once it got into town, maybe because it was stressed or simply because it was unwell.

But a day later, on Sept. 19, Savikataaq Jr. transported the bald eagle outside of town and released it.

“It flew and it kept on flying,” Manik said. “It never came back. We’ll never see that bird again.”

But he says he’s glad he got to spend the day at least with the eagle.

The eagle, a female, had a band around its left talon. When they tracked the number, they discovered it had been tagged in June 2011 in the midwestern state of Michigan.

Bald eagles are common around Arviat, Manik said, but lately there have been more than usual.

When asked why he didn’t leave the bird on the land to suffer its own natural fate, Manik said he just couldn’t do that.

“There’s nothing better than hunting around here,” said Manik.

“I don’t usually save animals but I saved that bird. Was the first time,” he said. “I would have let it die but I like eagles. I really like them—big, strong and beautiful.”

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