Bald Eagle shot from East Texas skies, authorities want answers

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A young Bald Eagle is under Beverly Grage's care after being shot down from the skies of East Texas.  Now, East Texas authorities need your help figuring out who would commit such an unimaginable crime.

"He seems to be doing much better," said Grage.  "[The eagle] has not shown a whole lot of vim and vigor, and he's not trying to escape, which tells me, he's still sore."

The immature male bald eagle has been dubbed, Eagle No. 2--the second eagle taken to Grage's Lindale home within the past few weeks.  The young eagle still has color on his head,  sign he still has some growing up to do.

Grage is East Texas' own resident raptor rehabilitator.  She is federally qualified and helps birds of prey rest and recuperate before being released into the wild.

"[God] told Adam to be a good steward of his creation," said Grage.  "Having dominion doesn't mean we can go out and kill everything.  It means we're entrusted with their care while we're on this earth."

Grage said the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens contacted her on April 17th about Eagle No. 2 after someone found him near FM 2137 in northern Cherokee County.

"This is the national bird," said Eric Collins, a game warden with TPWD.  "It's uncalled for."

Collins said there have not been many leads but they won't stop until the shooter is found.  He said he plans to contact an investigator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, later this week.

"Someone intentionally shot this bird, and we're going to do all we can to find out who did it."

Steve Wilson is a veterinarian with the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler. He said he and his team worked on the animal for nearly four hours after it came in.

"The bird sustained an injury to his shoulder girdle--it had broken a bone there, so that kept him from being able to fly," explained Wilson.

Wilson said his team tried to remove the bullet, but decided not too because it would have done more damage.

"We assessed it, cleaned it, cultured the area to make sure there was no bacteria growing in it," he said.

Eagle No. 2 is now on pain medication and antibiotics.

The goal is to see him released and returned to the skies of East Texas.

"If you've never seen an eagle take off, it is magnificent," said Grage.

The shooter could be fined $5,000 and ordered to serve up to six months in jail.

The young eagle is scheduled to be taken to a "flight cage" in San Antonio where he can work on flying again.

Grage, a retired police officer and academy instructor, said she became a rehabilitator in the 1994.  She manages and funds Wild and Free Again, solely, by out of her own pocket.

To contact her, or send donations, please use the following information:
Beverly Grage-Wildlife Rehabilitator
13446 CR 4178
Lindale, Texas 75771

903.882.7480 (home)
903.316.4848 (cell)

If you have any information about the recent bald eagle shooting, please contact Cherokee County Game Warden Eric Collins at 903.683.2511. Or you can call, 1-800-792-GAME.

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