MIAMI, Okla. — Someone shot a bald eagle and then left it for dead. It’ll survive but may never fly again.
The mature eagle was found suffering from a gunshot wound in cold water over the weekend in Miami, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said.
A nearby fisheries technician jumped in and rescued the bird, and officials rushed it to the Tulsa Zoo. Veterinarians told Oklahoma officials it has a “good chance of survival” but odds it would be able to fly again were “slim,” they said.
Though no longer an endangered species thanks to decades of conservation efforts, eagles are protected by a number of state and federal laws, including the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Individuals can be imprisoned and/or fined for harming, shooting or capturing the animals.
That hasn’t stopped people from attempting to capture or kill them. A bald eagle was found dead in Erie County, Pennsylvania, last July. Another was found shot dead in southwest Oregon in November. And a third was found fatally wounded in Indiana in December.
Anyone with information on what happened to the bird are encouraged to call Oklahoma’s Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-522-4572. Tipsters will remain anonymous and may be given a reward.
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