The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is now offering a reward for information related to the two bald eagles found dead in a Minnesota river.
The raptors were discovered in the Blackduck River just outside of Blackduck, Minnesota, after an anonymous caller phoned the DNR. The conservation officer who responded said the eagles "appeared to have been shot" and were dead when he arrived.
Both eagles were then turned over to the USFWS to determine the cause of death.
On Friday, the USFWS issued a statement confirming the bald eagles were indeed shot. The agency is offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest or charges in connection with the killings. Tips can be submitted to the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-652-9093. Those who provide information over the phone can remain anonymous.
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.