AUTHORITIES OFFER $2,500 REWARD FOR
ABOUT DESTRUCTION OF BALD EAGLES’ NEST
(08/06) TRENTON - New Jersey and federal wildlife law-enforcement authorities today announced a joint investigation into the chainsaw destruction of a 70-foot pine tree that sheltered a productive bald eagles’ nest in Millville, Cumberland County.
A $2,500 reward is offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for destroying the eagles’ nest sometime during mid-January by cutting down the tree on Beaver Drive in Millville’s Laurel Lake section.
“I am outraged by this unconscionable act. Because of their special nesting requirements, bald eagles seek out the few trees that tower above the canopy. The cutting of this mighty pine tree is particularly significant because there is no other like it in that area,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson said.
“Adding further offense to this injury is the fact that this sad discovery was made just as Cumberland County’s communities prepare to celebrate their annual Eagle Festival this weekend,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Cumberland County is home to 20 bald eagle nests, more than any other county in New Jersey. Residents there have a special appreciation and respect for these majestic birds.”
Destruction of a bald eagles’ nest is a violation of the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which posted the reward money.
Earlier this month, New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers, accompanied by a federal FWS special agent, responded to a citizen’s report that the eagles’ nesting tree had been cut down. The investigators found the tall pine on the ground and the broken nest, along with evidence that a chainsaw had been used to fell the tree.
The Beaver Drive nesting site yielded three baby eagles in 2006, and state biologists had evaluated the site as a productive one for bald eagles as long as it remained undisturbed by humans. Since 2001, biologists with the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Endangered and Nongame Species Program, have tracked the pair of eagles which had used the Beaver Drive nesting site.
Research shows bald eagles demonstrate great fidelity to a particular nest site, and its use may become generational, spanning years if not decades. New Jersey’s nesting eagles now are readying their nests for egg laying and incubation, which begins for most pairs in February. A conservation officer in the field last Sunday reported seeing eagles flying directly above the area of the downed pine tree.
During 2007 in New Jersey, state biologists tracked 59 active nests, which produced 62 eaglets.
State and federal officers investigating leads in this case urge anyone with information about the Beaver Drive nest destruction to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (856) 327-0821 or the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife at (856) 629-0555.