Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Louisiana man convicted for killing bald eagle
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS - January 06, 2012
A West Monroe man was sentenced Tuesday in the Federal Western District Court of Louisiana in Monroe for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The 23-year-old West Monroe man pleaded guilty to shooting a mature bald eagle in Franklin Parish on April 4. U.S. Magistrate Karen Hayes sentenced him to three years of unsupervised probation, fined him $2,525 and revoked his hunting privileges for three years.
His conviction followed a lengthy investigation by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents, who received tips from the public through the department's Operation Game Thief hot line. Agents initiated the investigation April 4 after discovering a dead bald eagle in a drainage ditch along Camphouse road. LDWF officials say tips from the public helped them prosecute the suspect.
"We asked for help from the public and the media, and we were able to get enough leads to prosecute and complete this case," said LDWF spokesman Adam Einck. "That doesn't happen too often."
The bald eagle is a protected species and are protected by federal laws.. most people should know it is illegal to shoot or kill one.
"It's hard to speak to a motive as to why someone would do this," he said, "this is the first one I can remember."
He faced a maximum of $5,000 fine and one year in prison for a first conviction under the act.
The bald eagle was taken off the federal list of threatened and endangered species in August 2007 and indications are that populations are "doing terrifically," The number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states exceeds 10,000 today
After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle was "de-listed" because it had begun to flourish.
The two main factors that led to its recovery were the banning of the pesticide DDT and habitat protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act for nesting sites and important feeding and roost sites.
To ensure that eagles continue to thrive, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with state wildlife agencies to monitor the birds. If it appears that bald eagles need the protection of the Endangered Species Act again, the service can propose to re-list the species.
Eagles still are protected by other federal acts and cannot be shot, possessed or disturbed.