Someone shot a bald eagle in the leg in southwestern Florida, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for the public’s help in finding the shooter, the Naples Daily News reports — call 239-561-8144 or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 888-404-FWCC. Bald eagles aren’t listed as endangered anymore, but it is still a crime to harm them, punishable by fines and jail time.
The eagle will need surgery on the leg as soon as it’s healthy enough — it weighs about half of what a healthy eagle should, the paper reports.
Two young men will be sentenced next month for killing and eating an alligator, this article reports. According to the news, they allegedly shot the six-foot alligator’s eyes out, beat it to death with a baseball bat and then ate it. Both men pleaded guilty.
The article briefly says the crime took place at Blue Hole on Big Pine Key. What it doesn’t say is that’s in Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge. Some national wildlife refuges allow hunting, but this one doesn’t. Even so, alligator hunting is allowed only with permits and under certain conditions.
The article also mentions some people wrote letters to the judge in the case, asking for a harsh sentence for the men because the alligator was “semi-tame.” You know what that means: people fed that alligator. If you have visited Blue Hole, you can’t help but see a sign that tells you feeding alligators is a very bad idea. Alligators who are fed by people get too used to people, and when alligators lose their fear, people can become targets. Alligators that pose a risk to people’s safety are then usually killed.
So while these two men may have killed the alligator, anyone who feeds an alligator is ultimately leading it to death.
Photo from U.S. Geological Survey