Officials Fear Large Eagle Poaching Ring May Exist

Dead Golden Eagles Selling For As Much As $3,000

POSTED: 3:01 pm PST January 31, 2008
UPDATED: 4:52 pm PST January 31, 2008

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Eagles may be protected under federal law, but that doesn't seem to be helping the majestic birds in the Kern County foothills.

The federal government is in the middle of a months-long investigation into alleged eagle poaching, which can be very lucrative for the poachers

Golden Eagles are majestic in their natural habitat; but one was found shot dead by a suspected poacher on Woody Road about halfway between Bakersfield and Glennville.

It happens all the time, said Lt. Tom Stenson of California Fish and Game, referring to the suspects his office and the federal government have been following for months.

Fish and Game recently searched a man's apartment on Fairfax Road in Bakersfield as they worked on building their case.

They are hoping the man will help them break a much larger eagle-poaching ring.

Locally, the man is suspected of shooting eagles for years and selling the parts both stateside and internationally.

The black market for eagles can be very lucrative.

One dead eagle can sell for as much as $3,000.

A fan made out of tail feathers can fetch $300 to $500 and a single feather can sell for $100 to $200.

Those parts are then sold at Native American events like powwows.

People who live in the Woody area consider the eagles a treasure.

"Id like my granddaughter to see them," said one area resident. The same resident is pretty clear on what he thinks should happen to poachers if they are arrested. "They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

If you see any poaching there are a couple of numbers you can call. Caltips: 888-334-2258. U.S. Fish and Game: 559-487-5773.

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