Sallisaw Veterinarian Helps Rehabilitate Bald Eagles And Other Wildlife

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SALLISAW (KFSM) -- Oklahoma wildlife is part of what makes the Sooner state so beautiful, but one veterinarian has dedicated his career to helping rehabilitate injured animals.

Dr. Gary Cox is caring for a female bald eagle, just one of two he's taken in in the last month.

"I do see a lot of bald eagles," Cox said. "One that was found next to a high wire one time and I had one last year that was hit by a car."

Cox said he's seen an increase in bald eagles lately and thinks it may be because of an increase in birds and the area he works in.

"In this general area, [there is] Kerr Lake and the Arkansas River," Cox said. "The bald eagles, they follow the rivers and the lakes."

One of the eagles has since been released and he is currently nursing the female back to health. Cox said he plans to eventually release the female bald eagle.

"With her disposition, I'll very well have to anesthetize her to give her a good going over," Cox said. "Because of the condition that some of these come in, they're in really poor shape and I think getting them to eat and getting them in better physical shape is more important."

Dr. Cox said raising animals is what makes his job fun.

"I get a lot more enjoyment out of working with wildlife," Cox said. "You have to raise them in such a way that they can be released back to the wild an that they're not tamed. That's a little difficult because there's day to day contact with them."

As a state and federal wildlife rehabilitator, Dr. Cox is the area's go-to guy when it comes to helping every kind of animal.

"Anything that people find injured or that they just find period, they'll bring it in," Cox said. "They know after all these years that we take care of them."

Along with the bald eagle, Dr. Cox is currently taking care of an owl, baby rabbits, possums and a squirrel. He said his last bald eagle release was a success.