Timothy Lee Childers of Mississippi has been sentenced in federal court for the “deliberate and senseless” killing of a bald eagle, a protected species under several United States laws.
According to this week’s release from the United States Attorney’s Office Northern District of Mississippi, Timothy Lee Childers, 69, pleaded guilty on Wednesday. His charge, a misdemeanor, comes after Childers’ shooting and killing of a bald eagle in 2020.
The incident occurred on the 69-year-old’s property in Aberdeen, MS. There, Childers “deliberately” shot the protected species on September 11 in Monroe County.
The killing is, firstly, in violation of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. As such, the federal court orders Childers to pay $3,150 in restitution to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, local SunHerald reports. In addition, Childers is to pay $3,500 to the Lacey Act – the first U.S. federal law to ever protect wildlife legally. The Lacey act has been active since 1900, and plays a large part in the protection and conservation of many species like the bald eagle.
Childers was also ordered to forfeit the rifle and scope he used to “senselessly” kill the eagle. Moreover, a full year of probation is in effect for the 69-year-old.
‘Justice Has Been Served’ Says USFWS
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement continues to work diligently to protect bald eagles and their habitat,” Stephen Clark tells SunHerald. Clark, the special agent in charge of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, announced the sentence mid-Thursday.
“In this case, which involved the deliberate and senseless shooting of a bald eagle that was flying near a residence, we are pleased that justice has been served,” he concludes.
Clay Joyner, the acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, also took the case. Colonel Steve Advock, chief of Law Enforcement for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, announced the sentence alongside Clark and Joyner, as well.
Their case comes via an investigation by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks also came to the eagle’s defense. Prosecuting Childers was Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Addison.
Bald Eagle Protection is ‘One of America’s Greatest Conservational Success Stories’
Thanks to vigilant protection such as this, the bald eagle species has become one of America’s greatest conservational success stories. Clawing back from the brink of extinction, North America’s majestic bald eagle numbers have quadrupled since 2009, reports the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2021.
The raptors now flourish in the lower 48 states alongside Alaska. FWS’s numbers detail more than 71,400 nesting pairs and a brilliant 316,700 individual bald eagles.
“The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation’s shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together,″ says Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Sadly, the bald eagle’s conservation in America will always be preceeded by a deep failure to protect these birds. In 1963, only 417 known nesting pairs remained in the lower 48 states. Amidst this low, American conservationists kicked into overdrive, spurring decades of both federal and state regulations to protect bald eagles.