The North American bald eagle was on the U.S. Endangered Species list and protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 for decades after bald eagle populations dropped drastically because of the destruction of many of their nesting and hunting grounds, exposure to man-made pesticides and hunting.
In 2007, the U.S. symbol of freedom and strength was removed from the list after national nesting populations increased to self-sustainable numbers. A lot of people living in North America and elsewhere believe that the bald eagle should be permanently placed on the list because too many people enjoy hunting the bird for sport and the numbers could plummet rapidly at any time.
A recent crime in Mississippi seems to support this claim: On Monday, February 20, 2017, a Columbus resident found a dead bald eagle along the Fourth Avenue North 1500 block. Police believed that it had been shot or bludgeoned and then left to die on the street.Although the last nesting census in 2006 revealed that the state had only 31 nesting pairs inhabiting it, bald eagles have been breeding enough to handle one or two losses.
Yet, the possibility that the majestic bird died from unnatural causes has disturbed many people. Since the bald eagle is still protected under the U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, anyone involved in the incident could face a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment or a felony conviction depending on whether this is their first or second bald eagle attack.