A Pennsylvania community is in mourning after a poacher killed with a single shot a bald eagle that had just welcomed eaglets.
Authorities released images from video surveillance showing a white SUV near where the bald eagle was found dead, close to Cherry Valley Dam. Days after the incident in Mount Pleasant Township, the suspect, who admitted to “all aspects of the crime,” turned himself in, Fox News Digital reported. However, his name has not yet been released, and residents are wondering if charges have been filed.
“We’re devastated that this would happen, and we don’t understand why somebody would do this,” Linda Carnevali, a resident of the Cherry Valley Lakeview Estates, told Fox News Digital. “And… we don’t understand why this is so secretive.”
According to Carnevali the deceased bald eagle and its mate have been a part of the neighborhood for over two decades.
“Everybody in the community has a pair of binoculars on the window sill in their kitchen, and we’re all very protective of all of our wildlife in our lake,” Carnevali said.
The pair was always seen together, except when one was taking care of their little eaglets at the nest.
“So you always knew when you only saw one of them that there were some babies around,” Carnevali said.
At the time of the eagle’s killing, the pair had just welcomed two eaglets.
Bald eagles were delisted from the Endangered Species Act in 2007, but they remain a protected class under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Killing a bald eagle or causing destruction to its eggs or nest can result in a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for up to a year.
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and is featured on the Great Seal.
RELATED — WATCH: “Murphy,” a Bald Eagle Who Went Viral for Incubating a Rock, Now Has Eaglet to Foster
World Bird Sanctuary/AMAZING ANIMALS+ /TMX