Two men in America killed 3,600 wild birds over six years

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a disturbing story of a couple of men in America who reportedly killed 3,600 wild birds on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation over a six-year period starting in 2015.

Two men in America killed 3,600 wild birds over six years. Golden eagles are shot for their body parts such as feathers.
Two men in America killed 3,600 wild birds over six years. Golden eagles are shot for their body parts such as feathers. Image: MikeB

Why did they do it? For commercial gain is the answer. The species of birds that they killed included eagles with the intention of selling their body parts on the black market. I’m told that this is a long-running problem in the United States.

An arrest warrant is out for one of the individuals. A federal judge ordered his arrest last Monday. He had failed to present himself to court. His alleged, co-criminal, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The men worked with others. The man who is subject to the arrest warrant is Simon Paul, 42, of St. Ignatius, Montana. The other man is Travis Branson of Washington. Together they are charged with 13 counts of unlawfully trafficking golden eagles and bald eagles and their body parts.

They’ve been charged also with conspiracy and violating wildlife trafficking laws. Their modus operandi has been exposed in that in one instance they used a dead deer to attract an eagle and then shot the animal.

They discovered text messages from Branson and others to buyers saying that he was “on a killing spree” to collect more eagle tail feathers for future sales. Paul is described as a shooter for Branson.

They conspired to sell eagle feathers from the tail and wings and other body parts for large sums of money as specified in the indictment.

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America takes this kind of crime very seriously. They could face up to 5 years in federal prison on conviction for each violation.

A penalty of one year in prison for a first offence or two years in prison for each subsequent offence of trafficking eagles will also be applicable.

Native Americans consider the eagle a sacred animal. You have to have a licence to shoot eagles. Comment: I find that extraordinary. There should be a complete ban on shooting eagles, surely?

During the last century, bald eagles were killed across most of America mainly because of pesticide poisoning. They’ve been protected for many years and have started to flourish in numbers. They are now off the federal endangered species list and have been since 2007.

The golden eagle is endangered more due to illegal shootings as mentioned, energy development and lead poisoning. The wildlife conservationists want these men to be convicted as a lesson to others.

The report comes from Euronews.

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Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Birds > birds of prey > golden eagle