Decapitated Eagle Found in Louisiana Drainage Ditch

MONROE, La. --

Someone cut the head off of a protected bald eagle and left its remains in a drainage ditch, wildlife officials said.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division is asking for the public's help after finding the federally protected eagle in Franklin Parish on Sunday.

"To see any protected animal decapitated in a ditch is disheartening enough, let alone the animal that represents our symbol of freedom," said LDWF Capt. Alan Bankston. "However, to find out what happened to this eagle, we really need help from the public. We are urging the public to offer up any information they might hear so we can hold someone accountable for this brutal crime."

Those providing information leading to an arrest or conviction could be eligible for up to $2,000 in rewards. LDWF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are each offering $1,000 to help solve this case.

Anyone with information may call the LDWF Operation Game Thief Hotline at 800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous.

Agents believe the eagle had been dead for a couple of days before its remains were discovered. LDWF agents recovered the eagle and are working to determine a cause of death.

The eagle is protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. For each violation of these acts, a $5,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail may be imposed if convicted.

Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.