Feds seeking tips to ID eagle killer at Marion Reservoir

A bald eagle was shot and killed at Marion Reservoir last Wednesday. An investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
A bald eagle was shot and killed at Marion Reservoir last Wednesday. An investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

? Protected species shot on Wednesday.

A bald eagle was shot and killed Feb. 4 at Marion Reservoir, and state and federal officials are investigating the incident.

Not only is the bald eagle the national bird of the United States, it is protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which is why officials became involved in the investigation.

A recent post on both the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website requested help from the public.

It read: ?Kansas Game Wardens are seeking the public?s help. This adult Bald Eagle was shot and killed below Marion Reservoir?s dam sometime Wed?nesday morning (Feb. 4).

?Anyone with information is asked to call Operation Thief at 877-426-3843. You can remain anonymous.?

Kevin Jones, KWPT law enforcement chief in Pratt, said he could not comment on the investigation because it was being handled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

John Brooks, a USFWS resident agent-in-charge at Derby, said that anything related to active investigations cannot be commented on by its offices.

?We are still digging into this and trying to figure out if there is something here or not,? Brooks said.

Typically, he said, in these types of investigations the U.S. Attorney?s office doesn?t want USFWS to discuss cases.

?If in the course of the investigative timeframe we do have this or not have this (regarding a case),? Brooks said is when the media could be advised.

?As the days go on, if we are going to put out more (information), we will let the media know.?

At some point, Brooks said a reward could also be offered for information about what happened to the eagle at Marion Reservoir.

Jones said that while he could not speak for the case in Marion County, he said that in his opinion the percentage of people caught and prosecuted, in the broad spectrum, is not a high percentage.

And, while the number might be small in catching those who harm eagles, so is the number of shooting incidents, Jones said.

?I don?t have nationwide figures, but in my experience, shooting is one of the lower levels of eagle mortality,? he said.

?We can lose (eagles) from a lot of different causes,? he said. ?Human activity, accidents, being electrocuted by power lines, and like other animals, they are also susceptible to being struck by vehicles.?

One of the reasons eagles are off the endangered list is because the number of birds has increased.

As for the penalties involved in killing a bald eagle, Jones said the most severe penalties come from federal prosecution.

?The sentencing guidelines are complex, and there are provisions in the Eagle Protection Act regarding felony and misdemeanor on what occurred,? he said.

Brooks said the investigation continues.