FEB 09, 2017 7:48 AM PST

Two Bald Eagles Are Euthanized After Being Found with Gunshot Wounds

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Bald Eagles are the national bird of the United States, and in addition to that, they were also once endangered, but were able to rebound enough such that they were taken off of the list.

Nevertheless, they’re still heavily protected by government agencies because of their symbolism to the country. With both of these qualities tacked onto the species, there are some dire consequences for anyone who meddles with their survival.

Under both the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is a crime to harm the creatures and carries a hefty penalty. The actor can be fined as much as $100,000-250,000 and can also face a federal prison sentence of up to one year.

Even with these hefty penalties being imposed on anyone who is caught tampering with the species, it would seem that some people still show no remorse for injuring them, whether it's because they’re either sick in the head, or they have some kind of agenda (with the former probably applying to the individual in either case). 

An injured bald eagle gets treated by a veterinarian.

Image Credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Two bald eagles were reported euthanized in Tennessee after being found with gunshot injuries that they weren’t expected to naturally recover from. The injuries were so severe that no amount of surgical procedure would have saved the creatures.

One of the bald eagles, a male, was said to have been found injured on the side of a state route in Meigs County. The second was a female and was found injured in Rhea County, also on the side of a road.

According to X-ray results, the injuries to the male appeared to be inflicted with shotgun bird shot, which is generally a close-range type of ammunition. This would mean the offender would have needed to be in relatively close proximity to the creature when they opened fire on it.

The X-ray showing the birdshot pellets in the bad eagle's body.

Image Credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

The female, on the other hand, appeared to be shot with a much larger, single projectile, which means it could have been shot at from a greater distance. Entrance and exit wounds were discovered on the bird’s body, confirming the single projectile as the cause of the injury.

There’s no word on why the creatures were shot. No one has been charged for the heinous crime(s) yet, but the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is stepping in and offering a $2,500 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to an arrest and prosecution.

It's worth noting that bald eagles have also been found killed by gunshot wounds in other states across the United States, including North Carolina. The incident in North Carolina was a bit more hasty, as the bird was found dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the head.

Sadly, these kinds of things are difficult to control, but with fingers crossed, the perpetrators will be brought to justice and will learn never to tamper with these beautiful animals ever again.

There are estimated to be around 70,000 individual bald eagles left across the United States today, a vast improvement over estimates given nearly a century ago. The hope is to keep things that way.

Source: Knoxville News Senteniel

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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