Maryland agencies seek proper disposal of illegal pesticides implicated in eagle deaths on Eastern Shore

The Maryland agencies responsible for agriculture and wildlife management say they are stepping up efforts to enforce a ban on a pesticide believed to have killed at least 19 bald eagles in the state since 2016.

With seven eagles found dead on the Eastern Shore since March, the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s pesticide regulation unit on Thursday issued an advisory to farmers about use of carbofuran, a pesticide banned in the United States since 2009.


The poison was found to be present in a fox carcass and one of the recently killed eagles, Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials said. A great horned owl was also found dead in the recent poisonings, in Kent and Talbor counties.

They are the latest in a string of incidents that date to February 2016, when 13 bald eagles were poisoned in Caroline County under similar circumstances.

Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder is urging anyone in possession of carbofuran to contact the department's pesticide regulation section to arrange for proper disposal.

“We are all very troubled by the continued use of this highly toxic banned pesticide,” state agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder said in a statement. “Carbofuran has been banned for a reason, and this trend of wildlife poisonings on the Eastern Shore is unacceptable.”

State natural resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said her agency is also working “to inform and educate the public on how destructive carbofuran is to our wildlife and that they should do the right thing and properly dispose of any remaining stock.”

In a tweet Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan said his administration is “taking these incidents very seriously and doing everything we can to prevent further damage to our ecosystem.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.