WA Fish and Wildlife Police free bald eagle caught in trap

CLALLAM CO., Wash. — A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officer rescued an illegally trapped bald eagle in Clallam County and set it free.

WDFW says they received a call in November of a person’s dog that became trapped in a steel-jawed leghold trap. The dog’s owners were able to rescue it, but called to report that a bald eagle was stuck in another trap nearby.

An officer arrived shortly after and found the eagle, immobilizing it and releasing it from the trap. According to WDFW, it had no injuries, so the officer released it back into the wild.

“Thankfully the bald eagle didn’t have any injuries or broken bones,” said WDFW Police Sgt. Rosenberger. “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 seized additional illegal traps, and an investigation led them to a suspect living in the area, who admitted to setting up the traps, which included steel-jawed traps and wire snares, to capture and kill two coyotes.

That person now faces 16 criminal charges.