Someone shot and killed a bald eagle outside of Broken Arrow, Okla., and officials in the state are searching for the bird’s killer.
The Oklahoma Game Wardens posted photos of the slain eagle to Facebook on Friday, igniting hundreds of outraged comments. A passerby is credited with finding the eagle — the U.S. National Emblem and the official national bird since 1782 — on the side of a road in rural McCurtain County on Dec. 27.
“Warden Kenny Lawson collected the eagle and a rifle casing as evidence,” the post states. “The veteran game warden reported that the bald eagle had indeed been shot out of a tree overhanging the road.”
It is illegal to kill a bald eagle in the U.S. thanks to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The act provides protection for the birds by prohibiting harm of any kind, sale, purchase or disruption of nests or eggs. Violating the act could result in civil penalties of a $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 fine and up to two years in prison or felony consequences that could carry a $ 250,000 fine or two years of imprisonment.
Bald Eagles are no longer considered an endangered animal but the act ensures that crimes against them still carry severe penalties.
“Any way you look at it, it’s irresponsible, it’s wrong and it’s illegal,” warden Tell Judkins told KXII in Texas.
And many Facebook commenters agreed.