Officials searching for person who shot Bald Eagle

By Janice Broach - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Federal wildlife officials are offering a $3,000 reward to catch the person who shot a Bald Eagle in Northwest Tennessee.

The wounded bird was found near the Mississippi River in March, about five miles north of Tiptonville, Tennessee.  The eagle is now recovering at the Mid-South Raptor Center in Memphis.

Director of the Mid-South Raptor Center Knox Martin said the female eagle was shot at Reelfoot Lake.  The top of her right wing had to be amputated.

The eagle is only five or six years old.  She cannot fly and will never be able to again but will probably try to everyday.

State and federal agencies are trying to find out who shot the eagle, which is a federal crime.

"Sooner or later they'll either die or starve to death or coyotes or other animals will get them," Martin said.

Martin said she probably had a mate and chicks at Reelfoot.  Eagles can live more than 30 years in the wild.

"The eagles are at the top of the food chain," Martin said.  "They really don't have what we could call natural enemies other than humans."

The person who shot the eagle could face possible time behind bars and fines up to $100,000.

The Mid-South Raptor Center said the eagle could possibly go to an educational center or a breeding facility where she will be taken care of.

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