UPDATE: ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR BALD EAGLE SHOOTING
|The bald eagle that was shot Valentines week is hooded for transport for emergency care. |
photo with permission from MDNRE
According to the Genesee County Prosecutors Office an arrest warrant has been issued for 65 year old James A Nelson on charges of violation of the Bald Eagle Protection Act and Reckless Discharge of a Firearm. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment became aware of the injured eagle in a corn stubble field in Gaines Township shortly after Valentines Day. A rescue team organized by Senior Wildlife Biologist Julie Oaks of the DNRE, with assistance from Detroit Zoo bird experts and several licensed falconers captured the eagle. When X-Rays confirmed the gunshot, the law enforcement division of the MDNRE began a field investigation and shared information with the media in the hopes of getting tips.
Shortly after the shooting was reported in this blog, and later shared with other news outlets, tips came into the DNRE's 24 hour Report All Poaching Line (800-292-7800). Several tips - supplied by the public after reading the news reports - lead Conservation Officer Mark Papineau of the DNRE to the suspect's residence. After interviewing the suspect and collection of balllistic evidence that was tested at the State Police Lab and incriminating statements made by Nelson, the warrant was issued. Nelson, a resident of Gaines Township will be arrainged on the two charges in Genesee County District Court on April 4th.
Eagle Update: It is believed that the eagle is the same one that frequented northern Oakland County and had been seen numerous times near Seven Lakes State Park and the Village of Holly. The eagle, a five year old adult male, remains in rehab in Monroe, Michigan and according to Papineau is doing extremely well. It is hoped the eagle may be able to be released to the wild this spring. (Updates will be posted on Earth Almanac when available)
Kudos to CO Papineau for his excellent detailed investigation and to the public for their valuable cooperation in this senseless shooting of our federally protected bald eagle. Your tips led to the arrest warrant! For more on your Michigan Dept of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Officers see :www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers Be sure to see the DNRE video, Shields of Gold showing some of the work of your CO's.