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MATURE BALD EAGLE SHOT IN GEORGIA

 MATURE BALD EAGLE SHOT IN GEORGIA
 ATLANTA, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A bald eagle, shot and injured in


Georgia last week, is currently recovering at the Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center of Auburn University.
 The mature eagle had been shot in the body and right wing and was found Friday in Echols County lying on the side of the road. The bird was alive, but extremely weak and emaciated.
 Upon arrival at the rehabilitation center, the bird, which averages a wing span of 6 to 8 feet, weighed only 6 pounds. During a full physical examination, wounds were found on its wing where bullets or shotgun pellets appeared to have entered and passed through, and there were lacerations on its legs and the tops of its feet. An x-ray confirmed that there was no lead in the body cavity and no broken bones. However, there was a lead fragment in the tail.
 "This eagle is lucky to be alive and in such good shape after what it has been through," said Program Director Terry Johnson of the Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Fund.
 The eagle, named "Cochise" after the great Indian chief by staff at the center, has been improving and has remained very alert and hungry.
 "This bird seems to have a personality," said Student Medical Director Kristen Hanson of the Raptor Rehabilitation Center, "and is taking care of itself, which is a good sign."
 "When placed in a cage with a water dish, the eagle immediately emersed itself in the water where it bathed and drank for half an hour. It is also eating catfish well," Hanson added.
 The eagle is recovering and should be released in 2 to 3 weeks back in Echols County.
 "We're very hopeful that this eagle will successfully return to the wild and possibly nest in Georgia, if it hasn't already," said Johnson.
 This is the second eagle this year that has been shot. The first one, a golden eagle, released in 1990 as part of the Department of Natural Resources' Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program's Eagle Restoration Project, died from gunshot wounds on March 6. This makes five eagles, four bald and one golden, that have been shot in the past two nesting seasons.
 "It's a shame that these majestic birds are being carelessly shot when we are working so hard to restore their population here in Georgia. It keeps pushing us one step back," said Johnson.
 Eagles are protected by federal and state law, and a complete investigation is being conducted by the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The offender could face federal and possibly state charges.
 Anyone with any information regarding either shooting should contact a state wildlife conservation officer at a local game and fish office, call the state's 24-hour Turn in Poachers (TIP) Hotline at 800-241-4113, or contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 -0- 4/9/92
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos are available upon request; contact Michelle Stripling at 404-656-0528 or 404-656-0807./
 /CONTACT: Terry Johnson of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 912-994-1438/ CO: Georgia Department of Natural Resources ST: Georgia IN: SU:


EA-BR -- AT009 -- 6859 04/09/92 14:11 EDT
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Date:Apr 9, 1992
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