BILLINGS, Mont. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is investigating the shooting of an immature golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) just north of Pryor, Montana. The golden eagle carcass was found with its tail removed by researchers on Friday, February 8, 2014, in a drainage ditch on the south side of Blue Creek Road, approximately three-quarters of a mile west of Pryor Road.
The researchers banded and fitted the eagle with a satellite transmitter in July of 2013 as part of their research study. The eagle was estimated to be six months old. Preliminary x-rays indicate that the six-month-old eagle may have been shot. The Service continues to investigate the cause of death.
Golden eagles are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The shooting and/or possession of any eagles, including parts thereof, are considered a violation of those acts. Pursuant to U.S. Department of the Interior policy, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice, members of federally recognized tribes may possess and use lawfully obtained federally protected birds, as well as their parts or feathers. However, federal laws prohibit anyone from killing eagles and other federally protected birds, as well as buying or selling of such birds or the feathers or other parts of such birds.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to contact the USFWS, Office of Law Enforcement in Billings, Montana at (406)247-7355. The Service will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone providing that information to authorities may remain anonymous. Information can also be reported to the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks TIP- MONT line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668).
Golden Eagles can be found from the tundra, through grasslands, forested habitat and woodland-brushlands, south to arid deserts, including Death Valley, California. They are aerial predators and eat small to mid-sized reptiles, birds, and mammals up to the size of mule deer fawns and coyote pups. They also are known to scavenge and utilize carrion.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
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