American Bird Conservancy is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the Bald Eagle deaths on Maryland’s Eastern Shore last month. These funds will add to those already contributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and four other charities totaling $25,000. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has determined that the 13 eagles did not die of natural causes, including disease, and is now investigating human causes, such as possible poisoning, for the incident.
“It is deeply disturbing that 13 of these revered birds appear to have been killed, either deliberately or through reckless negligence,” said Darin Schroeder, ABC’s vice president of Government Affairs. “Either way, we at American Bird Conservancy will do everything we can to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service track down those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Another four Bald Eagles were found dead in Delaware this past weekend; another died soon after. Authorities do not yet know if the Maryland and Delaware cases are related. ABC’s reward offer also applies to the Delaware incident if it proves to be a criminal act.
Bald Eagles are federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Maximum fines for violations of those two acts are $100,000 and $15,000 respectively, and up to a year’s imprisonment.
ABC has long been a champion of these magnificent birds, working to reduce threats from pesticide poisoning, use of lead ammunition, and collisions with wind turbines.
“I can’t imagine many more things more important than protecting an iconic bird so widely regarded as a symbol of this country,” said ABC President George Fenwick.
FWS is working with the Maryland Natural Resources Police to solve the Eastern Shore eagle deaths. Anyone with information should call Special Agent John LaCorte with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement in Cambridge, MD, at 410-228-2476, or the Maryland Natural Resources Police Hotline at 800-628-9944.