December 27th, 2006 05:24 EST
Dead bald eagle found on Dingmans Creek (Pa.): Killed by gunshot; reward offered
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward for information about the November shooting of a bald eagle found near Dingmans Falls Visitor Center in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, according to Service Special Agent Barry Jordan of Philadelphia, Pa.
On Nov. 25, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a hiker found the dead eagle about 100 yards upstream from the north side of Doodle Hollow Road on the bank of Dingmans Creek in the recreation area near Milford, Jordan said.
A necropsy on the eagle at the Service's National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., determined the cause of death to be a gunshot. The eagle was an immature female about 2 years old. Jordan said someone likely shot the eagle a few days before it was found.
The Service, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the National Park Service are investigating the shooting. Anyone with information should contact one of these three agencies:
The Service's Office of Law Enforcement 215-492-5850
Pennsylvania Game Commission, Northeast Regional Office 570-675-1143
National Park Service 570-426-2457
"Because the eagle's body was found in a highly traveled area, someone likely saw or heard something that will help in our investigation," Jordan said. "We are offering up to $2,500 under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for information leading to the conviction of the individual or individuals responsible."
Pennsylvania and many surrounding states went to great expense and effort during the 1980s to restore the bald eagle population, mostly by importing nestlings from Canada and Alaska, where eagles are abundant, and releasing them in suitable habitat. Bald eagles have made a remarkable comeback in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States during the past two decades. From a low of just three pairs of nesting bald eagles in 1980, Pennsylvania now has more than 110 nesting pairs. Bald eagles are protected by the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. The act prohibits killing, harming or harassing bald eagles and other threatened and endangered wildlife. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act also protect bald eagles.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 Ecological Services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Barry Jordan 215-492-5850; Diana Weaver 413-253-8329