State and federal wildlife officials are offering $22,000 in rewards in the recent cases of two bald eagle shootings in East Tennessee.
In March, a wounded bald eagle was discovered on the northern end of Chickamauga Lake, near Thatch Road Gravel Boat Ramp in Hamilton County, according to a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
The mature eagle was examined at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital and now is recovering at the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge.
A second eagle was found injured along the Tellico River in Monroe County earlier this month. The juvenile eagle was discovered along Scenic River Road at a land bridge, about 3.4 miles from the intersection of Ball Play Road, and about a tenth of a mile from the Clear Water Cove subdivision. This second bird also was examined by UT veterinarians and now is in the care of the foundation in Pigeon Forge.
Tennessee currently hosts about 180 breeding pairs, according to TWRA ornithologist Scott Somershoe.
Bald eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal wildlife statutes. Violation of either statute carries a maximum criminal penalty of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in federal prison.
A reward of $11,000 per eagle is being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting.
Anyone with information is asked to call U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Bo Stone at (865) 692-4024 or TWRA toll-free at (800) 262-6704.
(Information from the Knoxville News Sentinel.)