Talon News - Good Local News


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January 18, 2019

ABOVE: In the x-ray, the bird's left wing is to the reader's right. It shows a break through the humerus (upper arm bone) that is very close to the shoulder joint. Around the break, there are many small metal fragments. This is typical for gun-shot wounds. There is another break in one of the metacarpal (hand) bones, with a small metal fragment near it as well. These breaks would make flying impossible. - Kariana Atkinson, DVM

$3,000 Reward OFFERED

by Brenda Landdeck, TALON

A Beautiful Golden Eagle was shot in the wing and found alive with the tailfeathers plucked off south of Farmington, New Mexico at NAPI, the Navajo Agriculture Industry Products on January 8, 2019 by a security guard. The golden eagled laid on the ground a week suffering and starving. This is the fifth eagle found in the same location in less than a year. In March of 2018, three Golden Eagles and one Bald Eagle were shot and robbed of their feathers while still alive. Two of those were unable to recover from their injuries and died. Two recovered but will never fly or be free to enjoy being Eagles again. They are now housed in the Eagle Aviary at the Navajo Nation Zoological Park in Window Rock, Arizona.

After the proper authorities were called, the tortured eagle was taken to the Navajo Nation Zoo and into the care of David Mikesic where it was given fluids. The staff of the Navajo Nation Zoo called the Hawks Aloft Raptor Rescue Hotline for assistance with the case. The Raptor Rescue Hotline can be reached at 505-999-7740. Volunteers Eliane and Johnny Notah, of Grants, NM, transported the eagle to further veterinary care in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagle died on the way after being attacked according to Gail Garber of Hawks Aloft, Inc. an Environmental Conservation Organization out of Albuquerque, NM. A nonprofit based in Albuquerque, Hawks Aloft, Inc., has provided vital research, education, and rescue and rehabilitation to conserve New Mexico's populations of indigenous birds of prey for 25 years. More information is available online at hawksaloft.org.

It is suspected that the bird's feathers were taken to be illegally sold on the "black market," outside of federally sponsored feather banks. It is against federal law to shoot or possess feathers from Bald or Golden Eagles that are not distributed through these feather banks.

Perhaps people are not aware of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act passed in 1940? Or maybe they are aware the tailfeathers sell for about $100 each on the black market? But do they know about the fine for the crime? Apparently not since this story is being written. Even if an eagle is dead it is a $5,000 fine for touching it that can go up to $250,000 for repeat offenders. Surprised?

"The bald eagle will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act even though it has been delisted under the Endangered Species Act. This law, originally passed in 1940, provides for the protection of the bald eagle and the golden eagle (as amended in 1962) by prohibiting the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit Bald Eagle sitting in tree (16 U.S.C. 668(a); 50 CFR 22). "Take" includes pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb (16 U.S.C. 668c; 50 CFR 22.3). The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000- or one-year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. The fine doubles for an organization. Rewards are provided for information leading to arrest and conviction for violation of the Act." These are the exact words of the US Fish and Wildlife Service website people need to be aware of.

In other words, unless one has $5,000 to $250,000 laying around, leave the Eagles alone and if anyone does see an eagle being harassed, or shot at they need to report it immediately because it is a crime. One could get a nice reward for the arrest and conviction of a person who isn't doing society any good and enjoys torturing animals! Per a conversation with a lady who did not wish her name in the newspaper, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement at 505-346-7828 says the $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting the Eagles at NAPI and stealing their feathers still holds. We do need to save our precious Eagles for future generations to love and enjoy. Please keep those eagle eyes open and please let a voice be heard in defense of these magnificently stunning birds before their population is devastated once again.


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