The reward is for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators who killed the bald eagles. Authorities believe that the bald eagles were shot while they were perching in the trees.
The bodies of the dead bald eagles fell out of the trees into a Snohomish County lake. Their bodies were discovered as they floated in the lake just east of Granite Falls.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife official, Sgt. Jennifer Maurstad spoke with NBC regarding the killing of the bald eagles. “I’ve never seen anything like this in 11 years. It’s egregious.”
Maurstad spoke with The Seattle Times and stated that whoever killed the eagles used a small caliber rifle. Officials investigating the shooting revealed that there is a very lucrative black market for parts of the eagle.
Those parts that can be used in high end artwork and cultural ceremonies can be sold for hundreds of dollars. However, Maurstad doesn’t think that’s the reason behind the shooting.
Maurstad said, “I don’t think he [the killer] had any intention of profiting from them. I think it was just a spur of the moment opportunity.”
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States. Killing one of them requires a permit and if the permit is not issued prior to the shooting then it is considered a serious offense.
The bald eagle is protected under multiple federal laws in the United States as is the golden eagle. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, some of the laws protecting the eagles fall under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The charges brought against anyone violating the act would face felony charges. Convictions can bring a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years in prison.
There are civil penalties as well and those can bring thousands of dollars in fines and imprisonment.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act also protects the bald eagles. While the bald eagle was once considered an endangered species, it was removed from the Endangered Species federal list in 2007.
Based out of Arlington, Wash., the Native American group, the Stillaguamish Tribe pledges $10,000 of the reward fund and issued a statement regarding the incident.
“The Tribe is shocked and offended at the wanton wastage of wildlife and supports the efforts of state authorities to investigate and prosecute this case.”
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