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Roger Gephart (FWS) 303-274-3560

Kevin Ellis (FWS) 970-257-0795 (out of the office, but will be checking his voicemail)
Ron Harthan (CDOW) 970-252-6000
Sharon Rose (FWS) 303-236-7917, x415

Bald and Golden Eagles Illegally Shot in the Gunnison River Gorge 20 Miles East of Delta

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who shot two bald eagles, a golden eagle and two great blue herons on the 5-mile stretch below where the Chukar Trail and Smith Fork intersect in the Gunnison River Gorge (approximately 20 miles east of Delta, Colo.). Operation Game Thief, a Colorado program that provides rewards to citizens who provide information on hunting and fishing violations, is offering an additional $1,000. As this area has limited access, it is very possible that the birds were shot from a boat floating on the Gunnison River. It is believed that the shooting took place sometime between December 2002 and March 2003. The Service, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management continue to work on other leads while at the same time is asking the public for any information they may have. The birds were found by BLM rangers in the area.

The killing of a bald eagle, a threatened species, is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Golden and bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The great blue heron is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The killing of an eagle is a felony under federal law and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and $200,000 fine.

Anyone with information about the killing of these birds is encouraged to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 970-257-0795, the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-332-4155, Colorado Division of Wildlife in Montrose, Colo., at 970-252-6000 or Bureau of Land Management (Law Enforcement Office) at 970-240-5330. Callers may remain anonymous.

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