Reward Being Offered for Information Leading to Convictions in Two East Tennessee Bald Eagle Shootings
CROSSVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shooting of two bald eagles in East Tennessee. A reward of up to $22,000 ($11,000 per eagle/responsible subject) is being offered for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting these eagles.
Soddy Daisy --- Sometime during the last week of March 2013, an injured bald eagle was found on the northern end of Chickamauga Lake along the Tennessee River in Hamilton County near Thatch Road Gravel Boat Ramp and just south of Eldridge Slough. An examination by a veterinarian at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital determined the eagle had been shot. This was a mature bald eagle with a white head and white tail feathers. It survived the shooting and is recovering at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge.
Madisonville --- Sometime during the first week of May 2013, a second injured bald eagle was found in the area of Tellico Lake along the Tellico River arm in Monroe County. It was found on Scenic River Road where it crosses the land bridge approximately 3.4 miles from the intersection of Ball Play Road and 1/10 of a mile from the Clear Water Cove Subdivision. An examination by a veterinarian at the UT Veterinary Hospital determined the eagle had been shot. It survived the shooting and is recovering at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge. This was a juvenile bald eagle and it did not have the white head and tail feathers recognized with adult bald eagles. It had mottled dark brown feathers overlaid with a few messy white streaked feathers. It typically takes an eagle 4-5 years to reach maturity and have adult plumage.
Tennessee currently hosts about 180 breeding pairs, according to Scott Somershoe, TWRA ornithologist. It typically takes four or five years for bald eagles to mature but many do not start breeding until they are much older. They may live 15 to 25 years in the wild. Their primary diet is fish, so most bald eagles are found near rivers and lakes.
Bald Eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes. Violations of these statutes carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 and/or one year in federal prison.
Anyone with information concerning these cases is asked to call Special Agent Bo Stone at (865) 692-4024, or Hamilton County Wildlife Officer Joe McSpadden or Monroe County Wildlife Officer Joe Pike with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at (800) 262-6704.
Reward monies for this investigation were donated by the American Eagle Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.