Bald eagle euthanized after being shot in Chambers County

By Erica Young

ANAHUAC, Texas - If you spend any time in Anahuac, you’re bound to see tons of birds.

“We have birders come in from all over the world,” Sheriff Brian Hawthorne, of Chambers County, said.

You might even spot an eagle’s nest, which is a good sign.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, eagles have bounced back from a DDT scare.

In the 1970s, eagles were endangered, and it wasn’t until 2007 that they were taken off that list.

“They’re making a great comeback in our area. To see something like this, something injured that severely, it was extremely sad,” Sharon Schmalz, executive director of the Wildlife Center of Texas, said.

Schmalz saw the bald eagle that was allegedly shot in a pasture in Anahuac and that a game warden delivered to the Wildlife Center on Monday.

It was in such bad shape it had to be humanely euthanized.

“It’s tough with any of the animals that we take care of, but especially a bald eagle, one of our symbols of America. It was really sad,” Schmalz said.
A comeback story is as American as the bald eagle itself.

Simply put, shooting eagles is only making their comeback harder.

“They’re increasing, but it still doesn’t take away the importance of each eagle in the recovery of the species,” Tim Cooper, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Center, said.

The Chambers County Sheriff's Office said the homeowners who found the bald eagle are being cooperative.

Officials say if the necropsy -- an autopsy for an animal -- determines the eagle was killed by gunfire, the person responsible could face a Class C misdemeanor locally, but federally, could face prison time and be forced to pay a big restitution.

Rewards are being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the shooter. Chambers County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward, and another $1,000 reward is being offered by Texas Wildlife Crime Stoppers Operation Game Thief.

Anyone with information is asked to call Chambers County Crime Stoppers at 844-860-8477 or Texas Wildlife Crime Stoppers Operation Game Thief at 800-792-4263.

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