ROANOKE, Va. - It was a sad Christmas Eve in Virginia after a young bald eagle died after suffering from a gunshot wound to its wing.
The Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center said they admitted the 9.5 lb female juvenile bald eagle after it evaded capture for more than a week.
She was able to survive by living off of deer carcasses.
When crews were finally able to rescue her, X-rays confirmed the presence of bullet fragments in the wound and that the cylinder hole had expanded outward.
An X-ray shows where the bullet injured the wing. (Credit: Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center)
Officials said the break in the wing was too severe, and the bird was unable to recover.
"Animals deserve so much better," Chester Leonard, the executive director of SVWC, told WSET. "We wish we could save all of our patients and are deeply saddened by the loss of this magnificent eagle."
According to the outlet, shooting a bald eagle is a crime and can result in a fine of $100,000, imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.