SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Division of Wildlife Resources investigators are looking for information to help them solve the shooting of a bald eagle in Summit County.
According to DWR, conservation officers were notified about the injured eagle after it was found near the town of Henefer on April 2.
A Utah State Parks ranger and a Utah Highway Patrol located and captured the eagle near the Weber River, west of I-84.
The eagle was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where investigators confirmed the bird had suffered a gunshot wound from a small-caliber firearm.
"The trajectory of the round penetrated just below the wrist of the right wing (folded up against the body/shoulder), shattered the radius bone of the wing’s 'forearm', passed completely through the shoulder and lodged into the back of the neck, a Facebook post from the rehabilitation center said.
According to WRCNU, x-ray images prove the eagle must have been shot while perching low, on or close to the ground, or on a fence post. Conservation officers estimate the bird had been shot two weeks before someone found it.
Once the young bald eagle was strong enough, a doctor performed a "very long exploratory surgery" to locate and remove the bullet from the eagle's neck on April 9.
The operation proved difficult because the bullet kept moving around. At one point, the medical team had to take the bird off the operating table for another CT scan to find where the bullet had moved, then back to the operating table.
"Finally, SUCCESS! The bullet was located, and removed and the youngster is doing well today!" an April 10 Facebook post from WRCNU says.
Bald eagles are no longer endangered, but they're still protected by multiple federal laws.
Anyone with information that may help Utah DWR solve the crime is urged to contact Officer Jeremy Wilcox at 385-288-2112. Rewards are available and the DWR will respect requests for confidentiality.