“Horrific Crime”: Juvenile Bald Eagle Dies on Christmas Eve from Gunshot Wound in Virginia Wildlife Shelter

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Shelter was met with a heartbreaking scene on Christmas Eve as a young bald eagle succumbed to a gunshot wound in its wing.

The juvenile eagle, admitted from Wythe County, weighed just under ten pounds and had been on the run for over a week before being captured. Despite efforts to save the bird, multiple X-rays confirmed that the injuries were consistent with a gunshot wound, and the shattered bone was too severe to repair, leading to the eagle’s tragic death.

Chester Leonard, the executive director of SVWC, expressed deep sadness at the loss and emphasized that such incidents are not accidents. Shooting a bald eagle is a serious crime, one that could result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Leonard urged anyone with information about the incident to contact the Department of Wildlife Resources, calling the incident a “horrific crime.” The center’s staff, along with numerous volunteers and concerned citizens, had worked tirelessly to save the majestic bird, highlighting their dedication to wildlife conservation and protection.

The senseless killing of this young bald eagle has left the staff at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Shelter in mourning, serving as a reminder of the importance of protecting these majestic creatures and the consequences of harming them. Wildlife conservationists and law enforcement agencies are committed to finding those responsible and bringing them to justice.