The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward for any information leading to a conviction in the shooting of a bald eagle last week in Marion County.
Steve Segin, public affairs specialist at the agency, said the money disbursed would vary depending on the value of the information.
“It can be up to $1,000, or half of the fine if there is a conviction,” he said. “It’s kind of like calling in to Crime Stoppers.”
The bald eagle was found dead on Thursday below the base of the Marion Reservoir Dam, on the east side of the outlet.
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Bald eagles are protected on a state and federal level under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Killing one can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Kenny Kessler told The Eagle last week. In most instances, shooting a bald eagle with no premeditation results in a misdemeanor charge, which can mean a $100,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Eagle poachers can face felony charges if they are repeat offenders, shoot multiple eagles on their first attempt, or if they attempt to profit off the crime. Felony penalties can be up to a $250,000 fine and up to two years in jail, as well as the forfeiture of all equipment used in the crime, Kessler said.
In the 1960s, bald eagles were on the brink of extinction in North America, according to a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The use of pesticides such as DDT further diminished their numbers until the chemical was outlawed in 1972.
In the 1980s, bald eagles started making a comeback, and by 2007 it was removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species.
Anyone with information can call Kessler at 785-232-5149.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism also is investigating the shooting. People with information can contact its Operation Game Thief hotline at 877-426-3843.