The National Eagle Repository is the home for all recovered dead bald and golden eagles in the U.S., but not a lot of folks — no, not even eagle enthusiast and former Attorney General John Ashcroft — had ever heard of it before this summer.
In June, a hiker discovered a beheaded bald eagle corpse on the north slope of Legion Park Hill in Boulder. The gory find spurred countywide concern and even a $2,500 Humane Society reward for tips on the source of the mutilated eagle. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that the eagle mutilation was part of a growing trend fueled by the black market value of eagle feathers and talons:
Special agent Ken Dulik, who works for Oberholtzer, has investigated the killing of eagles for 20 years and knows the prices eagle parts can bring on the black market.
A whole eagle carcass – whether golden or bald – can bring a minimum of $1,000, with the going rate closer to $1,500, he said. Individual tail feathers of immature golden eagles, which are highly prized, bring about $100. A tail fan of a golden eagle brings between $500 and $800, he said.
Bald-eagle tail fans can bring $500.
After nearly a month, the Department of Wildlife announced that it had received an anonymous tip saying that the eagle was beheaded as part of a Native American ceremony (for which a permit had been granted). Read more