The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is launching an investigation after discovering a bald eagle shot and injured so seriously, that it had to be euthanized.
Wildlife Services said they found the injured eagle in Henderson County on February 28 and due to its weakened condition, officials said there was no choice but to euthanize the bird.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also got involved in the investigation. The agency stated Friday that it is offering “a potential reward for information leading to the prosecution of a person or persons involved in the criminal offense.”
The bald eagle has been the national bird since 1782 and has had federal protection nationwide since. During World War II, however, the bald eagle was placed on the endangered species list due to insecticide poisoning.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act were set up shortly after the war to protect the bird and after many decades of rebuilding the eagle population, finally, in 2007 the bald eagle was removed from the list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said last month that they estimate the population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states accumulates to about 316,000 eagles. Which is a healthy number and officials are trying to keep it that way.
Authorities ask that if anyone has any information on the criminals involved in the Tennessee shooting to call USFWS at 615-736-5532, or the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at 731-423-5725.