Just east of Granite Falls four bald eagles were found dead by a Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.
The eagles were discovered on Jan. 9 by the biologist who was doing some work in the area.
“We think they were perched on a tree above the lake and dropped into the lake when they were shot, which is where they were found,” Sgt. Jennifer Maurstad of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife said. “Three of them were definitely shot and I am assuming that the fourth one was as well. They had bullet holes made by a small caliber rifle.”
There were three adult eagles and one juvenile.
Bald eagles are still protected by federal and state laws.
“A federal violation is a Class A misdemeanor and also a state misdemeanor that could be punishable of up to $1,000 per bird and 90 days in jail,” Marstaud said. “If you are convicted for this crime by the state there is a civil penalty of $2,000 per bird.”
Currently there are no suspects but Fish and Wildlife is continuing to investigate. There is also a reward being given to anyone who has information leading to an arrest.
“We don’t have any suspects right now which is why there is reward money being offered,” Marstaud said. The reward is currently a $13,750 reward. $10,000 is being donated by the Stillaguamish Tribe and the rest is a combination of the DFW, the Humane Society and Conservation Northwest.”
The eagles were left and not taken by the shooter, which means it was most likely a crime of opportunity.
“Normally when eagles are poached it’s so that people will benefit from their feathers. In this case, because the birds were just left for dead, I don’t know why somebody would do this other than the opportunity presented itself and they thought they could get away with it,” Marstaud said.
If you have any information regarding the death of the eagles you can leave tips at 1-877-933-9847 or email email@example.com.