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SEPTEMBER  30, 2003

DALLAS, Luzerne County - Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region Director Barry Warner today announced that the agency is seeking information about the person or persons responsible for killing an immature bald eagle in Athens Township, Bradford County. Warner noted that Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Matthew Grebeck is investigating this incident, and is asking the public for information about the person or persons responsible.

Bald eagles are a state endangered species and, like all birds of prey, protected by both state and federal law.

A resident in the area found the dead eagle in Athens Township on Aug. 30, and reported it to the Game Commission. WCO Grebeck took the eagle carcass to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Barry Jordan, who arranged for a necropsy to determine cause of death. The necropsy determined that the eagle was shot and likely died where it was shot due to the injuries sustained to its wing.

"This was a senseless act," Grebeck said. "To have someone shoot a bald eagle, or any bird of prey, is an absolute shame.

"I am asking the public for help. If anyone knows or hears anything about this illegal shooting, they can call the Northeast Region Office toll free at 1-877-877-9357. I will be grateful for any and all assistance. Any information we do receive will be held in the strictest confidence."

Nationally, bald eagles were first protected by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940. In 1967, the bald eagle was declared an endangered species by the federal government, because its population had been decimated by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT. In 1995, after a decade of re-introductions, eagle populations rebounded and the species was moved to the federal threatened species list. Today, more than 6,000 nesting pairs live in the continental United States.

While the state's bald eagle population has increased by more than 150 percent over the past five years, it remains on Pennsylvania's endangered species list. For more information, visit the Game Commission's website, click on Wildlife, choose Endangered and Threatened Species, and select Bald Eagle.

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