Game wardens in Chambers County, Texas are seeking justice for a bald eagle they had to euthanize after it sustained a gunshot wound. Officials took the bird to the Wildlife Center of Texas after a Anahuac area resident discovered it on his land. Sadly, there was nothing vets could do for it.
According to a post on the wildlife center's Facebook page, the eagle was in terrible shape when it arrived. The eagle suffered from a severed beak that would leave it prone to infection. It was also blind in its right eye. A team of specialists rushed the eagle in for x-rays but quickly came to the conclusion that the injuries were too severe. Humane euthanization was the only answer in this case.
Sadly, this comes at a time when the bald eagle population is rather low. Numbers of nesting pairs have dropped drastically since they became our national bird in 1782. At the time, estimates put the population at around 100,000 nesting eagles. Today, that number is around 10,000.
While this is a tragic story, game wardens and the wildlife center are trying to make some good come out of it. They are using the case to remind people that bald eagles have federal and state laws protecting them. It is illegal to harm or disturb them in any way. High consequences are in store for anyone who doesn't follow the rules. They could receive up to two years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.
Now, the sheriff's department is offering $2,000 for anyone with information regarding the shooting. At this point, they say the evidence shows that this was an intentional act, even though they can't understand why someone would want to shoot such a beautiful bird. They do concede that duck and geese are currently in season. However, eagles are such distinct birds that they don't believe someone could have mistaken the eagle for something else.
Officials are asking that anyone with information regarding the shooting contact the Chambers County Crime Stoppers at 844-860-8477. You can also give information to the Texas Wildlife Crime Stoppers by calling 800-792-4263.