Two Honduran nationals have been cited for killing an American bald eagle, a protected species, and planning to eat it in Nebraska.
The Stanton County Sheriff’s office was called to the scene at Wood Duck Recreation Area near Stanton around 4 p.m. on Tuesday over reports of a suspicious vehicle.
When deputies arrived, they found Ramiro Hernandez-Tziquin and Domingo Zetino-Hernandez, both 20, with the dead bald eagle. An interpreter was needed since neither of the men spoke English.
“The vehicle was located in a field and while having contact with the two males it was determined that they had a dead American Bald Eagle in their possession,” the Stanton County Sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Further investigation revealed that the two had shot and killed the protected national bird in that area and stated they planned on cooking and eating the bird.”
The sheriff’s office continued, “Nebraska Game and Parks was contacted and took custody of the eagle and the rifle used to kill the eagle.”
The two Honduran nationals were cited for unlawful possession of the eagle.
Hernandez-Tziquin was also cited for not having a driver’s license.
The Sheriff’s office said that more serious charges are possible as the investigation into the unlawful killing continues.
“According to the National Audubon Society, the number of bald eagles had been in serious decline — due largely to shootings — during most of the 20th century. However, now they have been seeing a gradual increase since the 1970s,” local station WGNO reports.