HOWELL (AP) – Staff members at a Howell nature center say a wounded bald eagle may have been illegally shot.

The Howell Conference and Nature Center has asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate. The adult male eagle was recovered Saturday in Marion Township.

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Center director Dana DeBenham said there were no fractures to the bird’s wings and no evidence of lead, but two circular injuries near his chest could be gunshot wounds. She said it was clear during the rescue that the injuries left him unable to fly. Center employees hope to move him to a flight pen for rehabilitation.

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Bald eagles were taken off the U.S. endangered species list in 2007 but remain federally protected. Violations can carry penalties of up to six months in prison or a $15,000 fine.

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