Kansas wildlife officials are searching for the killers of a bald eagle that was found shot to death on February 4 at Marion Reservoir north of Wichita.
“Kansas Game Wardens are seeking the public's help,” the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism posted on its Facebook page, according to The Wichita Eagle. “Anyone with information is asked to call Operation Game Thief at 877-426-3843. You can remain anonymous.”
The adult male bald eagle was killed on Wednesday morning, reported KSN TV. With bald eagles off-limits to hunters under the provisions of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the shooting carries potential penalties and could even be ruled a felony depending on the circumstances, Kansas game wardens said.
People violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act by shooting one of the birds can incur a $100,000 maximum fine and/or a year in jail, The Wichita Eagle said. Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations can add up to $15,000 in fines and/or a six-month jail term.
Shooting a bald eagle, which violates the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, carries a fine of up to $100,000 and not more than a one year in jail or both. It also violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and not more than six months in jail. Other transgressions carry harsher penalties, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service game warden Kenny Kessler told The Wichita Eagle.
“Poachers may face felony charges if they’re a repeat offender, shoot two or more eagles their first time, or if they’re trying to profit from the crime, like by selling feathers,” the newspaper reported. “Felony penalties can climb up to $250,000 and two years in jail per individual involved. They can also be forced to forfeit any equipment used in the crime.”
“It’s not really a common occurrence, but we do have people shooting eagles in Kansas,” Jones told The Wichita Eagle. “Each year we have a few instances.”
They shoot eagles elsewhere too. Just about a year ago, in February 2014, a golden eagle was shot in Iowa, apparently in cold blood.
In 2013, four eagles were found shot to death and floating in a lake near Granite Falls in Washington State; the Stillaguamish Tribe offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the killers.