Two men are facing criminal charges, accused of shooting and killing a bald eagle near Stanton, Nebraska, on Tuesday, that authorities said they had planned to cook and eat.
The two suspects, identified as Honduran nationals Ramiro Hernandez-Tziquin and Domingo Zetino-Hernandez, both age 20, were charged with unlawful possession of an eagle, the Stanton County Sheriff's Office reported in a news release Tuesday. Hernandez-Tziquin was also cited for not having a driver's license.
At about 4 p.m. local time Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of a vehicle in a field northwest of the Wood Duck Recreation Area, about three miles from Stanton, the sheriff's office said, where they made contact with the two men, and found them with a dead North American Bald Eagle.
"Further investigation revealed that the two had shot and killed the protected national bird in that area and stated they planned on cooking and eating the bird," the sheriff's office said.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission seized the rifle used to kill the eagle, and also took custody of the eagle's body, the sheriff's office said.
Bald eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, which prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior, from shooting or killing them, including their parts, nests, or eggs.
The sheriff's office said more serious charges are possible as the investigation continues.