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Death of Red-Tailed Hawk Caused By Rat Poison, Says EPA

FLATIRON — A hawk found dead inside of Madison Square Park earlier this year was a victim of secondary rat poisoning, according to the EPA’s New York City blog.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation performed a necropsy — an autopsy performed on an animal — and found indications of blood clotting, which suggest that the bird may have died of secondary rat poisoning, according to a blog post by the Environmental Protection Agency’s New York City blog called Greening the Apple.

“What we know so far is that there were partially reabsorbed clots of blood indicating a prior episode(s) of poisoning as well as the massive bleed-out that led to this bird’s painful death,” the post said.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, the hawk had most likely eaten a rat that had ingested rat poison, said Rodney Rivera, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“It’s definitely not a peaceful way to go,” said Rivera.

A concerned citizen who found the deceased Red-tailed hawk on the west side of the park on New Year’s Day also informed the state that there was an overage of 19 rat bait boxes throughout the seven-acre park, said the EPA blog post.

“The NYS DEC is also investigating this alleged rodenticide,” the post said.

The City Parks Department would not say how many bait boxes were used within Madison Square Park. A spokesman said rodenticide was applied by licensed professionals using locked bait stations.

“We value our wildlife and work diligently to create the necessary balance between public health and safety, and wildlife health and safety,” said Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the City Parks Department.