Shootings of two bald eagles under investigation by TWRA - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Shootings of two bald eagles under investigation by TWRA

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Bald Eagle as found on roadside in Meigs County. Photo by Chris Combs. Bald Eagle as found on roadside in Meigs County. Photo by Chris Combs.
Avian and Exotics service at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center radiograph reveals pellets. Avian and Exotics service at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center radiograph reveals pellets.
RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shootings of two bald eagles in the Tennessee River Valley.

The first injured eagle was reported on January 30 around 2:00 p.m. in Meigs County. TWRA Wildlife Sergeant Chris Combs responded to the call and found the bald eagle alive, but injured off of State Route 68 near State Route 58. The female eagle was transported to the Avian and Exotics service at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center.  After examination, it was determined the eagle had been shot with size eight to eleven shotgun pellets. It was also determined the eagle had been shot up to one week prior to the report. Injuries sustained were incurable and the animal was euthanized.

READ MORE | Bald eagle rescued in Meigs County

The second eagle was reported after noon on February 1. TWRA Yuchi Refuge Manager Bernie Swiney found the eagle on the side of Abby Lane, just north of Highway 60 in Rhea County. Swiney found the eagle alive but in poor condition. This bird was also transported to the Avian and Exotics service at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center. A suspected entrance and exit wound was found and thought to be caused by a gunshot. Injuries sustained were incurable and the animal was euthanized.

Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Violations of these statutes carry a maximum criminal penalty of up to $100,000.00 and/or one year in federal prison. State charges will also apply. 

Bald eagles are biparental, meaning it takes both parent birds to raise young. Losing one eagle likely means failure of a nest.

Wildlife Sergeant Chris Combs shared, “We are especially angered by these actions because it is nesting season. This is our national symbol and it’s an atrocity to see them senselessly shot.”

Anyone with knowledge regarding these two shootings is asked to contact the TWRA, Region III office at 931-484-9571 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (615)-736-5532.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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