Bald Eagle Shot And Killed

Federal wildlife officials are offering a reward for the arrest of the shooter of a young, wild bald eagle. The eagle died Saturday after being shot near the West Jackson Wastewater Treatment Plant, officials said. ``It is very tragic that someone would try to kill the symbol of our nation especially in these times,'' said Sabrina Keen, refuge manager of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.

Wildlife veterinarian James Askew of Saucier said the eagle had 17 pellet wounds to the wings, feet, neck and abdomen. ``This was a juvenile eagle. He had a lot of parasites in him, which is common for a fish-eating bald eagle. They like to hang around a water area. It would have taken a lot of blood to save him. I believed he could have been shot as much as a week ago,'' Askew said. The combination of parasites and lead pellets in the body led to the eagle's death, officials said.

Special Agent Robert Oliveri, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's division of law enforcement, said the reward is half the fine assessed the shooter. Shooting a bald eagle, listed as an endangered species, is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.