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Bountiful hikers rescue bald eagle

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Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-24 00:28:15-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- What started as a normal hike for a Bountiful family on Sunday turned into an attempt to rescue the national bird.

"About a mile up, the dogs were barking and running around like they normally do and we though they may have found a deer or something like that that had been down," said Taylor Schulte.

Schulte and his family found a bald eagle lying lifeless in the dirt. They thought the bird may have been afflicted with the mysterious illness that has claimed the lives of 12 other bald eagles in Utah in the past few weeks.

"We talked about that it may have that issue and we thought 'let's try to get it down the mountain' because if we wouldn't have done anything, something else would have, a predator, something would have gotten to it and it probably wouldn't have lasted a whole lot longer," Schulte said.

The hikers wrapped the bald eagle in a coat and carried it down the mountain. They contacted a specialist, who brought the bird to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.

Officials at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center say wildlife rescue is a task best left for the experts.

"We don't know what we're dealing with here. It's best to contact the officials with the local Division of Wildlife Resources and have them retrieve the animals and bring them in to us," said Dalyn Erickson-Marthaler, Executive Director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah.