MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A reward is now being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person who shot and killed a bald eagle.

The eagle was found on March 17 in a brush pile near the town of Forest, Wisconsin in St. Croix County.

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The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $5,000 reward in the case.

“Just that someone could shoot such a beautiful animal, it’s sad,” Nicole Miller said.

Miller’s St. Croix County farm is full of animals. They have goats, chickens and cows, just to name a few.

But much of her attention lately has centered on an eagle. Her dad and son found the dead bird near their farm and they immediately called the DNR.

“Within about two hours he was out here, they went and found him and said that he was laying in a pool of blood,” Miller said. “It made me sick actually. Who would do that?”

That’s what the DNR and the Humane Society want to know.

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The news is especially disturbing considering just how far Wisconsin’s eagle population has come. Over the past 15 years, the population has nearly doubled.

It’s gone from about 750 active nests in 1999, to more than 1,200 last year. Minnesota has seen a similar increase.

“It’s mostly because we’ve been actively managing and protecting the nesting areas,” Minnesota DNR rehabilitation coordinator Heidi Cyr said.

She says conservation and cutting down on pesticides like DDT have once again allowed the eagle population to take off in Minnesota and Wisconsin — which is why she would like to see those responsible for this crime brought to justice.

“It’s always sad to see an animal like that being shot when there’s no real benefit for food or anything like that,” Cyr said.

A spokesman from the Wisconsin DNR says he does not recall a situation like this before.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Wisconsin DNR Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR (9367).

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You can remain anonymous.

John Lauritsen