Wildlife officials offer $10,000 reward for information.
US federal and state wildlife officials are currently investigating the mysterious deaths of 13 bald eagles – the national symbol of the country, and offered the sum of $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to convictions of persons behind the birds slaughter - National Geographic reports.
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The 13 dead bald eagles were found on a farm in Caroline County, 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Washington and west of the 3,800-acre Idylwild National Area. A local man who was looking for deer antlers discovered some of the dead birds and called wildlife officials to the scene; they found others.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) together with the Maryland Natural Resources Police are investigating the incident, with USFWS’s spokesperson Catherine Hibbard saying “We don’t know the cause of death yet and are asking the public for help with information. Our special agent has never seen this many dead eagles in eight years on the job.”
The carcasses of the found birds have been sent to federal forensic ornithology lab in Ashland, Oregon, to determine cause of death. But some officials speculate that the bald eagles must have been killed by poisons put down by farmers to kill foxes and other land animals; the birds must have been poisoned when they scavenged on poisoned carcasses.
Bald eagles population declined in the 20th century with habitat loss caused by hunting and pesticides use that led to the banning of DDT. But the bald eagles have since rebounded and subsequently removed from the threatened and endangered list in 2007, although they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
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Anyone with information about the eagles is being asked to call the USFWS at 410-228-2476 or Maryland's investigators at 800-628-9944. A reward of $10,000 is being offered for information that leads to a conviction.