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Tennessee officials investigating shooting death of bald eagle

Tennessee officials investigating shooting death of bald eagle
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Officials in Tennessee are investigating the shooting death of a bald eagle, the country’s national symbol that is protected under federal law.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said Wednesday that a mature bald eagle was shot on March 20 in Lake County, roughly 200 miles east of Nashville.

An X-ray image showed a bullet lodged in the bird’s head.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information on a bald eagle that was killed in Lake County. The mature...

Posted by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Bald eagles are protected by several federal laws despite no longer being endangered.

Violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act are considered felonies with a punishment of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the FWS.

Bald eagles were almost extinct in 1963 with only 417 known nesting pairs at the time, the FWS said in a statement, but the agency released a report this week indicating that the population has quadrupled since 2009.

“We estimated 316,700 bald eagles were present in the four EMUs in the 2019 breeding season, 4.4 times more eagles than in 2009,” the report states