Both birds had been shot and had tail feathers removed

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FARMINGTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward for information regarding two eagles who were shot — one fatally — and later found at the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry headquarters on the Navajo Nation.

A bald eagle and a golden eagle were both found shot in different areas at NAPI this month with their tail feathers removed, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $3,000 reward for anyone with information regarding the incidents, which are crimes, the release states. Contact the FWS Office of Law Enforcement at 505-346-7828 or the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife at 928-221-9114 with information.

The bald eagle, which was found on March 13 at NAPI’s Region 7, died due to its injuries, and the department’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory will conduct a necropsy to verify the cause of death, the release states.

The golden eagle — an adult male — was found on March 21 at NAPI’s Region 1 with injuries that led to the amputation of its left wing tip. The bird is currently recovering under a veterinarian’s care, and will not be released back into the wild because of its injuries, according to the release.

Once its wing has healed, the golden eagle will go to a permitted nonprofit organization, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Aislinn Maestas.

Maestas said illegal trade of wildlife and their related parts and products has steadily been increasing.

“Individual(s) kill eagles because they see the opportunity to keep a valuable part of an eagle or they where there is a market to sell for profit,” Maestas state in an email. “We have always worked to investigate the illegal shooting of protected eagles, especially the trafficking for monetary gain.”

Both bald and golden eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the press release. Violations of the federal laws can be penalized by up to one year in jail and a $250,000 fine per individual.

Eagle parts and feathers are used in cultural and religious ceremonies in many Alaska Native and Native American cultures, and though hunting eagles is illegal, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the National Eagle Repository to provide access to the religious items and protect eagle populations. Enrolled members of federally recognized tribes may apply to receive and possess bald or golden eagle carcasses, parts and feathers from the repository for religious purposes, according to the USFWS website.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or mpetersen@daily-times.com

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