PERU — A bald eagle was shot and killed over the weekend, and federal and state wildlife officials are offering $4,500 in rewards for information leading to the conviction of the shooter.

The injured eagle was discovered Sunday near the Androscoggin River along Route 108. The person who found it cared for it until a game warden came, according to news release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on Wednesday.

A man and his daughter are credited with teaming up to rescue the bird before it was taken to Avian Haven in Freedom, according to the Avian Haven Facebook page.

“The intrepid team called a game warden, then used a rope to descend a steep embankment and carry the eagle up to safety,” the post said. “The eagle arrived at Avian Haven Sunday evening. The wing was obviously damaged so we wrapped it, gave the eagle pain medication, and settled her in for the night.”

An X-ray of the eagle revealed it had been shot, according to the Maine Warden Service. That agency, part of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the killing.

Like four other bald eagles treated by Avian Haven this year, the injured bird brought in Sunday had elevated lead levels in its blood, according to officials at the bird rehabilitation center.

“Three of the others have died,” they wrote on their Facebook page. “One is still with us but not doing well.”

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 is a federal law that protects two species of eagles, the national symbol of the United States. A violation of the Act can result in a fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense. Penalties increase substantially for additional offenses, and a second violation of this Act is a felony.

Under that law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction of the person responsible for the shooting. Maine Operation Game Thief is offering an additional $2,000 for the same purpose.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Operation Game Thief in Augusta at 800-253-7887, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement in East Orland at 469-6842 or the Maine State Police dispatch center in Augusta at 624-7076.

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