Bald eagle dies of gunshot wound in Indiana, officials announce reward to find killer

One can face a year in prison and a penalty of $100,000 for possessing, selling, or hunting the birds


                            Bald eagle dies of gunshot wound in Indiana, officials announce reward to find killer
The bird was found with a gunshot wound on the south side of the White River (Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement)

LAWRENCE COUNTY, INDIANA: Officials reported how a protected bald eagle was fatally struck by a bullet in Indiana, prompting them to announce a reward for the culprit.

The shooting of the bald eagle on December 21 in Lawrence County was being investigated by Indiana Conservation Officer Ryan Jahn, Fox News reports.

“The eagle was found alive south of the White River near Dixie Road, but later succumbed to the gunshot wound,” Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement said in a statement on December 22.

According to the agency, a reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

In a Facebook post, the Indiana DNR asked anyone with information about the bird’s death to contact Indiana Conservation Officers’ Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536 or their anonymous tip line at 1-800-TIPIDNR.

An American bald eagle perched on a tree near Mill Pond on August 15, 2018, in Centerport, New York. (Getty Images)

While the statement did not indicate how old the bald eagle was, the birds are known to live up to 38 years in the wild and can reach speeds of 100 miles an hour in pursuit of prey. Bald eagles first nested in Indiana in the 1890s.

The killing of a bald eagle violates the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act — which was established in 1940 and prohibits possessing, selling, or hunting the birds. Violators can face up to a year in prison and a penalty of up to $100,000.

The national bird of the United States was once endangered by hunting, pesticides, as well as lead poisoning. While it was removed from the endangered animal lists in 2007, it is still protected under federal, state, and municipal laws.

Data on bald eagles is constantly collected by researchers in an effort to monitor the health of the population and learn more about their behavioral patterns.

According to Indiana's Wildlife Science Report, 258 nests were spotted throughout the state and at least 181 chicks were raised in 2018. As of now, the birds have nested in 85 of Indiana’s 92 counties.

Any crimes related to bald eagles can be anonymously reported to the agency's Turn In a Poacher (TIP) line that accepts tips about illegal fish and wildlife captures, violations, and killings.

The standard reward for such tips that lead to an arrest is $200.

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