Officials are investigating the death of two bald eagles that "appeared to have been shot."
The eagles were discovered in the Blackduck River just outside of Blackduck, Minnesota, the DNR told Bring Me The News. The local conservation officer, Demosthenes Regas, was tipped off on April 23 after the Nongame Wildlife Program received the information from an anonymous caller, the agency said.
The eagles were dead when Regas arrived, according to the DNR, and Regas noted in the weekly conservation officer report the raptors showed signs of being shot.
Both eagles were then turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which will determine the cause of death. As of Tuesday, USFWS was not able to provide an update.
Bald Eagles are protected under multiple federal laws, including the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which bars anyone without a permit from pursuing, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting or disturbing the species.
A violation, even a first-time offense, can result in a fine of up to $100,000, and imprisonment for up to a year.
The Minnesota DNR and USFWS will both investigate the deaths. They are encouraging anyone with information to call the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-652-9093. Those who provide information over the phone can remain anonymous.