Thirteen bald eagles were found dead recently in Maryland, prompting officials to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for information about what happened to the federally protected birds of prey. The eagles were found in Federalsburg, Maryland, on Feb. 20, after a local resident reported seeing several of the dead birds in a field, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland Natural Resources Police.
Bald eagles were listed as an endangered species in the lower 48 states after the birds nearly went extinct in the 1960s. Though bald eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, they are still federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, enacted in 1940, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, according to the FWS. These federal laws carry maximum fines of $100,000 and $15,000, respectively, and violators could face up to one year in prison, agency officials said.
The FWS is offering up to $2,500 for information about the dead bald eagles. The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are also contributing up to $5,000. The Phoenix Wildlife Center, Inc., a wildlife rehabilitation center located in Phoenix, Maryland, is also offering $2,500 in exchange for information, according to the FWS.
Anyone with information can contact John LaCorte, a special agent in the Office of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Cambridge, Maryland, at 410-228-2476, or the Maryland Natural Resources Police hotline at 800-628-9944.
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Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.