The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the death of a bald eagle whose carcass was found on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in late May.
The eagle appears to have been shot, according to Jim Wessel, a criminal investigator with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
“A local veterinary clinic assists us with things like this, with X-rays, and there seems to be metal fragments in the eagle,” Wessel said.
The bald eagle has been a federally protected animal since the passage of the Bald Eagle Protection Act in 1940, The act has since expanded to include golden eagles.
“Bald eagles are protected under the bald eagle and golden eagle act, and the maximum penalty can be one year imprisonment and/or a $100,000 fine, and mostly that’s determined by the circumstances of the case,” Wessel said.
The First Congress chose the bald eagle as the national emblem in 1789.
The eagle carcass will be sent to Fish and Wildlife’s forensics lab for further analysis, according to Wessel.
“From there they’ll help to determine the exact cause of death and kind of go from there,” he said.
The bird was discovered May 21, when UAF police received a call in the early afternoon, according to UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes.
“Someone called dispatch and said they’d found a bald eagle on campus in the woods near Haida (parking) lot,” Grimes said.
The Haida lot is uphill, left of the Chapman Building, located next to the Wood Center on the UAF campus. An officer went to the lot, confirmed it was a bald eagle and called the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, according to Grimes.
The university has been posting fliers, and Grimes said the news would be shared in the employee newsletter.
A flier offering a reward for “timely and specific information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the illegal killing” was posted on the UAF police Facebook page Tuesday morning.
“Putting out the flier, trying to figure it out,” Wessel said, “I’m hopeful that somebody out there has seen something, knows something and will be able to lead us in the right direction.”
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7572.