$22,000 reward offered in bald eagle shootings

$22,000 reward offered in bald eagle shootings

Nancy Zagaya shows where the bird was shot in the wing. Nancy Zagaya shows where the bird was shot in the wing.
The juvenile bald eagle that was shot. The juvenile bald eagle that was shot.
The eagle enclosure where the birds will head when they've recovered more. The eagle enclosure where the birds will head when they've recovered more.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE/AP) - Officials are offering up to a $22,000 reward for information leading to convictions in the shooting of two bald eagles in eastern Tennessee.

One of the eagles was shot near Soddy-Daisy in March and the other was shot near Madisonville this month. Both survived and are recovering at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge.

The incident in Madisonville happened during the first week of May. The juvenile bald eagle was found along the Tellico River arm of Tellico Lake in Monroe County.

The eagle was found on Scenic Rover Road where it crosses the land bridge near the intersection with Ball Play Road and the Clear Water Cove subdivision.

Because the eagle was a juvenile, it didn't have the white head and tail feathers typically associated with an adult bald eagle.

"Often people mistake them for hawks, and they often shoot them," said Al Cecere, Founder and CEO of the American Eagle Foundation.

Cecere says people should know better than to shoot a bald eagle, the country's national bird. 

"Every year, we probably get couple eagles shot, in this case, two eagles over the past several months is significant. It shouldn't be happening," said Cecere.    

In the Soddy-Daisy incident, the injured adult bald eagle was found on the north end of Chickamauga Lake near Thatch Road Gravel Boat Ramp.

"There was a significant fracture that caused the bird to be grounded. It was in his wing, so once he was on the ground, he had difficulty getting to food and was emaciated," said Nancy Zagaya, the bird rehabilitation coordinator at the American Eagle Foundation.  

Both eagles are currently in the initial stage of their rehabilitation process, but are expected to progress even further.  

The birds will soon be moved to a flight enclosure within the American Eagle Foundation facility.

At the enclosure, the birds will have a chance to practice their flying and build up muscle strength back to normal.

Bald eagles are protected under federal law. Violations can carry penalties of up to $100,000 and a year in prison.

The reward money has been donated by the American Eagle Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust

Anybody with information is asked to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (865) 692-4024 or the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at (800) 262-6704.

Portions of the report are copyrighted 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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