MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Despite showing signs of improvement after being treated for a gunshot wound at a Memphis veterinary clinic, "Abe" the bald eagle died over the weekend.
A person in Hardeman County, TN purposely shot the bald eagle and left it for dead earlier this month. The eagle, locally named “Abe”, was taken to Memphis Veterinary Specialists in Cordova for emergency surgery early last week. After a grueling four hour surgery, doctors were hopeful that Abe would recover. The eagle was transferred to the Mid-South Raptor Center at the Agricenter last Wednesday to begin a rehabilitation program.
Knox Martin, Mid-South Raptor Center Director, says, “We picked him up and brought him out here. We treated him with medication, injections, force fed him, but he never just snapped out of being shot.”
Martin found the eagle dead in his cage on Saturday.
“I just think it was so stressful that he never recovered from the stress,” says Martin.
Martin says 90-percent of the birds that come to the Mid-South Raptor Center for rehab have been injured by humans. A certain percentage of raptors cannot recover from their injuries. Martin says losing Abe is particularly disappointing. Everyone was hoping he would survive to rise above the unnecessary acts of one person. He says he has decided to focus on the positive. Another bald eagle, much younger than Abe, was also purposely shot by someone and is recovering at the Raptor Center. He did survive and will be released back into the wild at Reelfoot State Park in the near future.
Wildlife officials are offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to a conviction of whoever shot Abe. It’s a federal offense to kill a bald eagle. They are protected under the “Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act”. Civil penalties can add up to $10,000 and two year in prison. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000.