Illegally Trapped Bald Eagle Rescued

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police (WDFW) last week referred charges to the Clallam County Prosecutor against an individual who, among other trapping violations, had trapped a bald eagle with illegal steel jawed leghold traps.

In November 2020, WDFW Police received a report of a domestic dog that had become trapped in a steel jawed leghold trap. The dog’s owners had managed to free the dog but reported that a bald eagle was also caught in another trap just feet away.

WDFW Police Sgt. Rosenberger responded and found a mature bald eagle struggling to free it’s talon from one of the traps. The sergeant was able to immobilize the eagle, remove it from the trap and assess for injuries.

“Thankfully the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” said Sgt. Rosenberger. “This was a rare poaching incident where the poached animal was still alive and able to be released back into the wild immediately on-site. It was a once-in-a-career event watching the eagle take flight on a crisp sunny day with the surrounding hills colored by fall leaves.”

WDFW officers monitored the trapping site and seized additional illegal traps. The WDFW officer’s investigation led them to a suspect who resides in Clallam County. The suspect admitted to WDFW officers during an interview to setting several unpadded steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares, which were used to capture and kill two coyotes. WDFW Police have now referred 16 criminal charges against the individual to the Clallam County Prosecutor’s office.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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