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Bald and golden eagles illegally shot, $1,000 reward offered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting two bald eagles, a golden eagle and two great blue herons.

The violation occurred on the five mile stretch below where the Chukar Trail and Smith Fork intersect in the Gunnison River Gorge (approximately 20 miles east of Delta, Colo.).

Operation Game Thief, a Colorado program that provides rewards to citizens who provide information on hunting and fishing violations, is offering an additional $1,000.

As this area has limited access, it is very possible that the birds were shot from a boat floating on the Gunnison River.

It is believed that the shooting took place sometime between December 2002 and March 2003. The birds were found by Bureau of Land Management rangers in the area.

The killing of a bald eagle, a threatened species, is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Golden and bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The great blue heron is also protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The killing of an eagle is a felony under federal law and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Anyone with information about the killing of these birds is encouraged to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 970-257-0795. Callers may remain anonymous.

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