Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police save and release illegally trapped bald eagle

Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police referred 16 criminal charges against a man to the Clallam County prosecutor’s office. The suspect is accused of trapping a bald eagle with illegal steel jawed leghold traps, among other trapping violations.

In November of last year, WDFW Police received a report that a dog was trapped in a steel jawed leghold trap. The dog’s owner was able to free the dog but reported that a bald eagle was caught in another trap several feet away.

WDFW Police Sgt. Rosenberger responded and found the bald eagle struggling to free its talon from the trap. He was able to release the eagle and check it for injuries.

“Thankfully, the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” Rosenberger said. “This was a rare poaching incident where the poached animal was still alive and able to be released back into the wild immediately, on-site. It was a once-in-a-career event watching the eagle take flight on a crisp, sunny day, with the surrounding hills colored by fall leaves.”

WDFW officers removed additional illegal traps at the site.

Their investigation led them to a suspect who lives in Clallam County. He admitted to WDFW officers that he set several unpadded steel jawed leghold traps and wire snares, which captured and killed two coyotes.