By The Associated Press
NEW ALBANY — A third bald eagle has been shot in Mississippi and authorities are offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
State and federal wildlife officials said in a news release that because of its injuries, the eagle could not have flown far from where it was shot. The eagle had multiple shot shell pellet wounds to its wings, leg and eye and was euthanized.
The eagle is believed to have been shot between Jan. 1-18.
Another eagle was shot in Neshoba County in early December 2012. That eagle had to be euthanized. It was found in the Nanih Waiya Wildlife Management Area.
A bald eagle was also shot and found in Stone County near Wiggins in mid-January. The eagle survived.
An investigation is underway in all three cases.
Officials said past cases have shown people believed they were shooting hawks or buzzards but others have said they could see the bird was an eagle by the shape of its head.
Bald eagles are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, both federal and state wildlife statutes. Violations of those acts carry maximum criminal penalties of up to $100,000 and a year in federal prison.