TUCSON, Ariz. - A beautiful part of our world is hurting.
A steel trap snapped down on the foot of a Harris Hawk. Now Tucson Wildlife Center is working to help him fly free again.
Standing in his cage, the Harris Hawk is remarkably calm considering what's he's been through.
A steel trap meant to catch foxes and skunks snapped down on his foot.
He was still able to fly even though the trap weighs almost half as much as he does.
But it was hard for him to hunt and that helped bring him into the Tucson Wildlife Center.
Lou Rae Whitehead says, “He was getting pretty hungry and dehydrated so we were able to get him out of the tree, they were able to get him out of the tree so... “
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: “So you just offered him some food and he came over?”
Whitehead: “They had to climb the tree to get him."
And there was the danger the chain dangling from the trap could catch on a branch and leave the hawk trapped.
The people at Tucson Wildlife Center see traps like the steel-jaw traps that caught the hawk as cruel. They say if you do need to deal with nuisance wildlife you can buy traps that are more humane and less likely to catch other animals like the hawk.
The trap caught the bird on the part of its claw that's almost like a human thumb. If that area can't be repaired the bird will not be able to go out in the wild again because it won't be able to grab prey and it won't be able to hold onto a branch very well."
The hawk could live the rest of his life in a wildlife refuge but the hope is he will heal up enough to fly free again.
Lou Rae Whitehead says, “It'll be great. A lot of people will be happy. That's the ultimate goal of our mission is to release the animal and release them healthy so they can hunt and live again in the wild..."
Rescuers say near Tucson's Reid Park there's another hawk with its foot caught in a mousetrap. They say if you see it, please contact Tucson Wildlife Center at (520) 290-9453