Authorities say two men hunted and killed a bald eagle in Nebraska.


Two men in Nebraska have been cited after hunting and killing a bald eagleThis is according to the Stanton County Sheriff’s Office.

The men, who are citizens of Honduras, have been charged with illegal possession of a bald eagle. This is stated in the message of the sheriff’s office. According to a press release, the men said they “planned to cook and eat the bird.”

The bald eagle, chosen as the national emblem in 1782, is under protection Federal law for the protection of the bald and golden eagle. A law passed in 1940 prohibits the “export” of bald eagles, as well as their parts, eggs and nests, without the permission of the Ministry of the Interior.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger told CNN he received a call Tuesday afternoon about a “suspicious vehicle” near the Wood Duck Recreation Center. He sent several assistants to the place where they encountered two men.

According to Unger, the two men spoke only Spanish. The deputies used a translator app to communicate with them. Through the app, the men said they “shot a vulture.” When deputies asked to see the vulture, Unger said they “freely” opened the trunk of their car and found a dead North American bald eagle.

Unger said it’s unclear if the men understand that bald eagles are protected under federal law.

“Their actions would lead us to believe that they probably didn’t understand (birds are protected) – at least not as heavily protected as our national bird,” he said.

The men currently do not appear to have lawyers, Unger said.

According to Unger, the Nebraska Department of Game and Parks took custody of the eagle and the powerful air rifle with which it was killed. Further charges against the two men are possible, pending further investigation by federal authorities, he said.

Unger said that in his 40 years of law enforcement experience, he has never dealt with a bald eagle murder in his county.

“Everyone here is obviously very disappointed that this happened,” he said. “Some citizens are very upset.”

The bald eagle population faced severe decline during the 20th century due to hunting, habitat loss, and exposure to the potent insecticide DDT. But thanks to conservation efforts, including the banning of DDT in 1972, view made a significant comeback and was removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2007.