P.E.I. conservation officers are investigating the shooting of a bald eagle.

They were called to the Avondale Golf Course on June 24 after golf course staff noticed the injured bird. Course manager Connor Lea said the eagle was found injured on the green near the 17th hole.

Eagle x ray

This X-Ray from the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre shows one of the pellets on the eagle's right toe. (Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative at the Atlantic Veterinary College)

"It wasn't moving too much and finally he moved over towards the woods and kind of went in there," said Lea.

"I think there was a crow that was kind of going around him and trying to bother him. But once he got into the woods the crow couldn't get to him. And he tried to fly a little bit but he just couldn't." 

The eagle was taken to the Atlantic Vet College in Charlottetown to be examined. Veterinarians decided it should be euthanized because of the extent of its injuries.

The subsequent necropsy determined the eagle had been shot with a gun sometime ago, could not fly, and was very weak from malnutrition.

Wade MacKinnon, manager of investigation enforcement for the Department of the Environment, said conservation officers have gone to Crime Stoppers in an effort to get information from the public about what happened.

"There were shot gun pellets found in the bird which is disturbing in the sense that someone would purposely shoot an eagle which is illegal," said MacKinnon.

pe-hi-avc-ext-summer

The injured eagle was taken to the Atlantic Veterinary College.

"So we will be following up with that and that is why we went with Crime Stoppers. Eagles are a protected bird. If someone was found guilty of the offence they could receive fines up to $10,000." 

MacKinnon said a week to 10 days after the first incident, a second injured eagle was reported in the same area, but that bird was never located.

MacKinnon noted there have been reports in recent years of eagles being shot in various parts of the Island.