Wildlife officials believe an illegal poison killed seven bald eagles and one great horned owl in two recent incidents in Maryland, authorities said Wednesday.
Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering up to $10,000 for information about the birds' deaths.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, six of the eagles and the owl died in the first incident, which occurred March 1 in Chestertown. Officials also treated several eagles for injuries.
Another eagle died and two others were sickened April 3 in Cordova, authorities said. The birds had been eating a red fox carcass.
"It is suspected that these events are related as a result of unknown persons placing baits laced with carbofuran, one of the most toxic carbamate pesticides, in fields, along woods lines and even directly into fox dens," officials said in a news release. "Carbofuran, sold under the trade name Furadan, is known to be particularly toxic to birds."
Authorities said people use the substance to intentionally poison "nuisance animals" such as foxes and raccoons.
"Eagles probably are not the primary target of the poisoning," the news release said. "However, Furadan is so toxic that the eagles are secondarily poisoned after feeding on the poisoned primary target."
Bald eagles are not considered endangered anymore, but the birds are federally protected.
Officials are encouraging anyone who has information about the incidents to make an anonymous report to Maryland Wildlife Crime Stoppers by calling or texting 443-433-4112. You also can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or report violations via the DNR's mobile app.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.