The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the death of a bald eagle, which was shot near the city of Bantry in McHenry County, North Dakota on October 22, 2015.

Witnesses reported that the person(s) responsible for the shooting were driving a black or very dark blue S-10 type truck with a white topper. The Service is asking for assistance from the public to help identify this vehicle or its occupants.

Bald eagles are protected by state and federal law, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The shooting of any eagle is considered a violation of those acts, and is a serious offense.

Persons with information about this incident are encouraged to contact Special Agent Kevin Downs at (701) 355-8531 office direct, (701) 390-4735 cell or (701) 255-0593 office main. Callers do not have to identify themselves, and a reward of up to $2,500 may be available for information leading to a conviction.

Approximately 50,000 bald eagle pairs occupied the lower 48 states in pre-colonial times, but that number was reduced to 400 pairs by the 1960s. Biologists blamed a loss of habitat, shooting, trapping and the heavy use of pesticides such as DDT. After DDT was outlawed, bald eagles began making a comeback in the late 1980s and in June of 2007, it was removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species.  This majestic bird, our national symbol, continues to need our help to survive, and your assistance is appreciated.