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Suspicious Detail After Killing of Resident Bald Eagle - Neighbors Are Getting Worried

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Residents of Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, are up in arms amid suspicions that a self-proclaimed poacher who admitted killing a beloved neighborhood bald eagle could escape unscathed.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, surrendered to authorities in May and admitted to the Pennsylvania Game Commission that he or she had killed the eagle, which had lived in the neighborhood — about 15 miles southeast of Pittsburgh — for two decades with its mate and their offspring, Fox News reported Saturday.

The eagle was part of a pair that had recently given birth to two eaglets. The feathered family was a cherished mascot among local residents, who are angered by the lack of information being released about the suspect.

“Everybody in the community has a pair of binoculars on the window sill in their kitchen, and we’re all very protective of all of our wildlife in our lake,” neighborhood bird lover Linda Carnevali told Fox News.

“So you always knew when you only saw one of them that there were some babies around.”

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Just days after the poaching, the Pennsylvania Game Commission issued a statement saying tips had led authorities to the suspect, who “admitted to all aspects of the crime.”

However, the suspect’s name has not been released, nor has any information about whether he or she would be charged with a crime.

“We’re devastated that this would happen, and we don’t understand why somebody would do this,” Carnevali told Fox News. “We don’t understand why this is so secretive.”

Bald eagle populations are recovering nationwide, decades after being placed on the endangered species list.

Carnevali said the entire community is upset by this senseless slaying.

“The killing of our beloved eagle had a major impact on the entire community,” she told the New York Post on Saturday. “We cannot fathom why anyone would want to harm our eagles and take it to the extreme of killing one.”

Carnevali and other locals have been calling authorities to demand punishment for the killing of their neighborhood mascot.

“We have all been calling the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh each week, and all they will say is that it is under investigation — even though the person responsible has confessed to the crime,” she told the Post.

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“This has triggered many emotions for several of us as we felt like they were part of our lives for all these years. We have taken it very personal and feel that the mission to bring this to justice is deserved and necessary.”

The bald eagle has been the national symbol of the United States since 1782.

While bald eagles were delisted from the Endangered Species Act in 2007 after their population recovered, they are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940 because of their status as the national symbol.

Should the killing of a bald eagle come with harsher penalties?

Violation of the federal statute could lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and a year in jail, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In March, two 20-year-old illegal immigrants were cited in Stanton County, Nebraska, after local authorities said they were found with a bald eagle that they intended to eat.

Residents of Mount Pleasant Township deserve answers about the killing of their beloved eagle.

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