Protected birds found dead in refuge, reward offered

Protected birds found dead in refuge, reward offered

WHITE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shooting of 10 great egrets on Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge in White County.

Someone discovered the dead birds scattered throughout a field in a common hunting area for early season teal. It's believed they had been shot sometime between Sept. 23 and 25.

"Because this is believed to have taken place during the end of early teal season, and the field where the egrets were located is commonly hunted for teal, someone may have seen or heard something that will help in our investigation," said Branden Kieffer, an officer with the USFWS.

The AGFC and USFWS are offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing the egrets.

"We are hoping that anyone with information on who is responsible for the shooting of these egrets will step forward and provide information that will help us solve this case," Kieffer said.

Confidential tips may be made by calling Kieffer at (879) 919-6933 or by calling the AGFC's Stop Poaching Hotline at 800-482-9262.

Great egrets, according to the AGFC, are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They were hunted nearly to extinction in the 19th century for their feathers. The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

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