Lacy Campbell, Wildlife Care Center Manager, explained, “A Bald Eagle, who has to fly, hunt, and defend territory, can’t survive in the wild with an injury so damaging to the wing. In addition, it was clear that if this bird were to stay alive it would be in chronic pain the rest of its life.”
Bald Eagles are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Illegal shooting of protected species is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,500 fine. These birds are also protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, with a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment.
While this Bald Eagle made headlines, his story is hardly unique. “Unfortunately we see victims of poaching regularly at the Wildlife Care Center and the outcome tends to be death,” explained Lacy. “Each year we receive many animals that have been shot illegally, everything from Bald Eagles to Great Blue Herons, and the wounds they receive are often untreatable.”
This adult was poached during breeding season, leading Portland Audubon to believe that it was likely a breeding male with a mate and a nest, one he was never able to return to.
If you have any information regarding the illegal shooting of this Bald Eagle, please contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Portland Audubon and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have offered cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for this crime. Portland Audubon offered $1,500 and ALDF offered $5,000.
Founded in 1902, Portland Audubon is one of the oldest conservation organizations in the nation. It promotes the understanding, enjoyment and protection of native birds, other wildlife and their habitats through its conservation and environmental education programs, its 150-acre Nature Sanctuary and Nature Store in northwest Portland, and its Wildlife Care Center.
For more information, call 503-292-6855 or visit www.audubonportland.org.