Bald Eagle Dies on Christmas Eve in Horrific Shooting Incident in Virginia Wildlife Shelter

ROANOKE, Va. – A young bald eagle died on Christmas Eve at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Shelter, succumbing to a gunshot wound in the wing. This distressing incident has left the staff and volunteers at the shelter grieving over the loss of this majestic bird.

The eagle, a juvenile from Wythe County, was admitted to the center after a week of evading capture, during which it survived by feeding on deer carcasses. It took a team effort from the Department of Wildlife Resources, Appalachian Wildlife Management, and concerned citizens to bring the eagle into the care of the shelter.

Despite efforts to save the bird, X-rays confirmed that it had sustained severe injuries from a gunshot, with bullet fragments lodged in its wing. The shattered bone was beyond repair, resulting in the devastating loss of the young bald eagle.

Chester Leonard, the executive director of the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, expressed his deep sadness over the incident, calling it a “horrific crime.” He also emphasized that shooting a bald eagle is a serious offense, punishable by a hefty fine and imprisonment.

The center is urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the Department of Wildlife Resources. This senseless act of violence against a symbol of freedom and national pride has left the wildlife community in shock and mourning the loss of this magnificent bird.