DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn. — The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating a shooting of a bald eagle in West Tennessee. The injured eagle was reported on Dec. 30 around 3 p.m. in Decatur County. A $2,500 reward is being offered for an arrest.
The eagle was found off Martins Landing Road in Bath Springs. TWRA wildlife officer Brant Luker responded to the call and the bald eagle was transported alive, but injured to the North Madison Animal Hospital on Dec. 31. After examination, it was determined the eagle had been shot. Injuries sustained were incurable and the animal was euthanized.
Bald eagles historically ranged throughout most of North America. However, for environmental reasons and a lack of regulations, their numbers dwindled in the 1900s. Bald eagles were placed on the endangered species list in 1978. Eagle populations recovered after changes in environmental practices and protection and the endangered status was removed in 2007. However, bald eagles are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Violations of these statutes carry a maximum criminal penalty of up to $100,000.00 and/or one year in federal prison. State charges will also apply.
Bald eagles are biparental, meaning it takes both parent birds to raise young. Losing one eagle likely means failure of a nest.