The feet of eight federally-protected raptors, including four bald eagles, were discovered last week along a street in Woodbury, Minn. The talons had all been removed from the feet, leading authorities to believe the birds were likely killed for use in fashion accessories.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering $2,500 for anyone who provides information leading to charges for the criminals.
“A lucrative commercial market exists in raptor parts,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resident Agent in Charge Patrick Lund. “We believe the talons from the raptor feet found in Woodbury may have been used to make jewelry for commercial sale.”
The feet were found last Thursday, November 12 on the west side of Cherry Lane, about 500 feet south of Lake Road. They were dumped in tall grass just off the sidewalk. Each foot had the talon removed from each toe.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting a forensic examination for more evidence.
Bald eagles and other raptors are protected by federal law, and no one is allowed to kill, collect, or possess the birds, their feathers, or any other parts without a permit. The maximum penalty for the unlawful take or possession of a bald eagle or bald eagle parts is one year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. A second offense makes the crime a felony.
Any person with information about the raptor parts found in Woodbury, Minnesota or other bald eagle killings should contact Special Agent Andrew Daiber at 651-778-8360, Conservation Officer Joe Kulhanek 612-271-8044 or Minnesota’s Turn in Poachers hotline at 1-800-652-9093.