Humans likely are responsible for 13 dead bald eagles in Maryland.
Two weeks after the mysterious discovery of thirteen dead bald eagles in Federalsburg Maryland, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is saying a human culprit (or culprits) may be responsible.
CNN reports authorities have already ruled out disease and physical trauma in the mysterious deaths, which were discovered on February 20. Four of them were found by a shed hunter searching a field for antlers. Wildlife officials discovered the remaining nine dead birds while searching the area.
Officials have also ruled out natural causes. They haven’t given any other details, but Maryland’s last die-off of eagles on this large a scale was the death of eight eagles 30 years ago in what was a suspected poisoning.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife is still investigating the case along with Maryland wildlife officials. It’s unclear if they have any leads as they were hesitant to talk details about the ongoing investigation.
“Our investigation is now focused on human causes and bringing to justice the person(s) responsible for the death of these eagles,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.
If someone is captured and convicted of killing the eagles, the penalties will be quite harsh. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty act call for fines up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to a year.
A $25,000 reward is still being offered up for anyone who might have information on the mysterious case that leads to the arrest and conviction of the responsible party.