(Photo: Southwest Wildlife Foundation)
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Humane Society of the United States has put up a $5,000 reward to help find the person who plucked out an injured golden eagle's tail feathers after it survived being hit by a car in Utah.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a car struck the golden eagle on Highway 50 near Salina on Feb. 27. After the crash, someone plucked out the bird's tail feathers with pliers, possibly causing permanent damage.
The eagle suffered additional bumps, cuts and bruises from the initial crash and is currently in the care of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation in Cedar City.
Workers at the wildlife center will try to rehabilitate the bird but say it's unclear if its tail feathers will grow back and whether it can be released to the wild.
The Humane Society initially offered $2,500 to catch the person responsible, but the reward doubled when the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation offered to match it.
The golden eagle is a protected species, and the person responsible for the attack could face up to a year in prison and fines of up to $100,000.
Anyone with any information should call the Division of Wildlife Resources poaching line at 1-800-662-3337.