Bald Eagle Fatally Shot on Christmas Eve in Southwestern Virginia Wildlife Shelter

ROANOKE, Va. – On Christmas Eve, the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Shelter experienced a tragic event as a young bald eagle passed away from a gunshot wound in the wing. The shelter admitted the juvenile bald eagle from Wythe County shortly before Christmas, after it had managed to evade capture for over a week.

The bird, weighing just under ten pounds, had survived by consuming deer carcasses during its time on the run. Despite the efforts of the Department of Wildlife Resources and Appalachian Wildlife Management, the injuries sustained from the gunshot wound were too severe for the bird to overcome, leading to its untimely death.

Chester Leonard, the executive director of the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, expressed deep sadness over the loss, emphasizing that the incident was no accident. He firmly stated that shooting a bald eagle is a serious crime, as it violates the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which could result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense.

The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center called the incident a “horrific crime” and urged anyone with information to contact the Department of Wildlife Resources at 1-800-237-5712. The tragic death of this young bald eagle serves as a reminder of the need to protect and respect the wildlife that shares our environment.

In conclusion, the senseless killing of the young bald eagle on Christmas Eve has left the staff at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Shelter and wildlife enthusiasts deeply troubled. The hope is that this incident will serve as a catalyst for increased awareness and action to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.