Authorities found a dead bald eagle shot in the head in Chatham County, North Carolina.
An unidentified North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper called wildlife officers after finding the bird’s body in a ditch, reports WTVD.
A veterinarian at North Carolina Zoo later confirmed the bald eagle had died from a head wound as a result of a gunshot.
Killing a bald eagle is federal offense also punishable by the state. If caught, the person responsible may face a fine of $100,000, and/or a year in prison, and more.
Many on social media expressed their outrage over the bald eagle’s death.
“I hope the coward who did this will be held accountable for this tragic death,” wrote one woman on WTVD’s Facebook page.
Some were especially upset because of the bird’s national symbolism.
“Hope they track down the common piece of trash that did this, national bird & a bird of prey, everyone knows this is a federal offense,” wrote another man.
Some thought the reaction to the bird’s death was overblown.
“3500 babies are killed every day in this country alone in the name of ‘choice’, and they never make the news,” chimed in one person.
“People being gunned down by police and we have more sympathy for a bird…Unbelievable,” added another.
Some shot back at those kind of responses.
“I didn’t realize that caring about animal lives and caring about human lives were mutually exclusive,” wrote one woman.
“This is the symbol of our Freedom,” added another man. “You ignorant people who think we care more about animals than people should stop and think how you would feel to be shot for no reason. I believe in karma. Whoever did this will ultimately experience it at some point. I am avid hunter and only harvest and animal to feed myself and family. What possible reason would you shoot a Bald eagle. This is not politics its ethics and morals.”
Sources: WTVD, WTVD/Facebook / Photo credit: Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith/Wikimedia Commons, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission via WTVD