Reward offered after bald eagle killed
Posted March 31, 2011 10:17 a.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2011 11:34 a.m. EDT
Wise, N.C. — An adult bald eagle died this week after being shot in Warren County, and state and federal wildlife officials offered a reward Thursday for information leading to a conviction in the case.
The wounded eagle was found March 20 along Faulkner Quarter Road near Wise. Wildlife officers took the eagle to a veterinarian, and an X-ray revealed the cause of its broken wing.
"He had been shot. Who would do that? They have to known that they shot him," said David Alan Conde, with West Hills Veterinary Center in Henderson.
Conde did surgery to repair the wing, but the odds were stacked against the bird.
"He was really weak. He'd been on the ground several days before someone found him," said Conde. "He did real well for a couple of days, then he started going downhill. He stopped eating."
Clinic staff found the eagle dead on Tuesday.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is leading a criminal investigation of the bird's death. Wildlife officer Richard Creech said that residents are talking, but so far, he has no suspects.
Creech said that finding a bald eagle that had been shot was a first for him.
"We've found eagles that have been hit by cars or had broken wings, but none that were shot," he said.
Bald eagles are protected by the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Killing or harming a bird carries maximum penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and one year in prison.
"A bald eagle is not something you got out there and hunt," Creech said. "It represents our country, something we feel dearly about. We want to find out who's responsible for it."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission initially offered a reward of up to $2,500 in the case.
The reward was increased Friday to $5,500 after the Humane Society of the U.S. added $2,500 and Ample Storage of Raleigh kicked in $500, officials said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Creech at 252-886-3614 or 252-438-3428 or Sandra Allred, a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 919-856-4786.