In Minnesota, investigators found the severed feet of eight raptors. The criminal(s) dumped the birds on the side of a residential street. All the feet were missing their talons. Four of the eight feet belonged to bald eagles, the national bird of the United States.
Federal law protects raptors under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act also prohibits the commercial trapping and killing of the birds.
Minnesota investigators are conducting a forensic examination on the bodies. They say they firmly believe someone completed the cruel act to sell the body parts.
Patrick Lund, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent, commented, saying, “A lucrative commercial market exists in raptor parts.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward for any information that might lead to an arrest or conviction.
The maximum penalty for unlawful possession or capture of a bald eagle, and its parts, is one-year in prison. In addition to a $100,000 fine. A second offense would be classifiable as a felony.
Investigators suspect the criminal(s) removed the talons for jewelry purposes. Despite the inhumanity, the process can be quite profitable for some.
Lund continued, saying, “We believe the talons from the raptor feet may have been used to make jewelry for commercial sale.”
Protections for the Bald Eagle
In 1967, the government categorized bald eagles as an endangered species. Over-hunting and habitat destruction almost put the bald eagle in danger of extinction. Additionally, the use of the pesticide known as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) altered the eagle’s eggshells. This made it harder to produce offspring.
Fortunately, the federal government outlawed the usage of the dangerous compound in 1972. Eventually, the bald eagle’s endangered species status led to reintroduction programs.
This led to their recovery in 2007 when the government removed them as an endangered species.
“It’s fitting that our national symbol has also become a symbol of the great things that happen through cooperative conservation,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
This year, in Cape Code, eggs were found in a bald eagle’s nest. Something that hasn’t happened in 115 years. Some good news for 2020.