DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) – A Minnesota wildlife rehabilitation center is in mourning after putting down a bald eagle whose condition was so meager it had no hope of recovery.

Wildwoods, a Duluth nonprofit that cares for injured wild animals, posted a note to Facebook on Monday, saying that while rehabilitating animals brings lots of joy, it also brings “a lot of sadness and loss.”

The group says it just got a mature bald eagle from Grand Marais that was “literally skin and bone and feathers.” It had been sitting listlessly on the ground by a lake for several days, dying with maggots in his mouth.

While the rehabilitators said they saw life in his eyes, those at the Raptor Center advised that a peaceful death would be best for the eagle.

Wildwoods said that going “full throttle” in trying to rehabilitate the bird could seem cruel, with all the need pokes, stress and travel.

“Giving up on animal is never easy for us,” the Facebook note said. “It goes against everything we want to achieve for this bird and all the animals in our care. But we know that the vet is right.”

The group says it does not know exactly what the eagle was suffering from.

The average lifespan of a bald eagle is around 20 years.

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