Two men shoot and kill bald eagle with plans to eat it, face criminals charges in Nebraska.
Two men are facing criminal charges after authorities said they entered private property in Nebraska and shot a North American bald eagle with the intent to eat it.
The two men, both 20, were cited for misdemeanor unlawful possession of the eagle, the Stanton County Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office reported both men live in Norfolk, 113 miles northwest of Omaha and 83 miles west of Sioux City.
About 4 p.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of a vehicle in a field northwest of the Wood Duck Recreation Area. There, deputies found the two men and learned they had shot and killed the bird.
Federal protections for bald eagles
Bald eagles, long the national emblem of the United States, have been a protected species since 1940.
Jackie and Shadow keep an eye on a rival eagle from their nest in Big Bear Valley in mountains two hours northeast of Los Angeles. The bald eagle couple have been busy watching over two eggs and weathering a series of strong winter storms.
Eagles and their nests are federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Under the Eagle Protection Act, wounding or killing an eagle can result in a fine of $100,000 and one year in prison for a first offense, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A second violation is a felony and carries heftier punishments.
ALSO READ:China banned women from modeling lingerie — So men are filling in.
Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said the men, originally from Honduras who do not speak English, told deputies they had shot a vulture, the New York Times reported, prompting the deputies to use a translation app to communicate with the men.
When one deputy asked to see the bird, Unger told the outlet, the men complied and opened the trunk of their car, revealing an air rifle, a BB pistol and a dead North American bald eagle.
The sheriff said the men told deputies “they intended to take it home and cook it and eat it and that it was unclear if the men knew killing the eagle violated federal law.
He also said that it was possible that the translation app they used incorrectly stated “vulture” in their communication with deputies.
Nebraska Game and Parks then responded to the scene and took custody of the eagle and the rifle used to kill the eagle, the sheriff’s office reported.
Additional federal charges are possible as the investigation continues, the sheriff’s office said.
Source: USA TODAY