(WMC-TV) - Abe, the bald eagle that was shot earlier this month in Hardeman County, died over the weekend.
Abe was discovered by a driver on the side of the road. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers say it appeared as though someone shot him in mid-flight.
The eagle underwent a four hour surgery to repair a shattered leg and broken wing. He was recently moved to the Raptor Center at Shelby farms where he was set to go through rehab.
"This is our national bird," veterinarian Dr. David Hannon said. "Some idiot with a shotgun blew it out of the sky. That's just appalling there are people who would do that."
Dr. Hannon named the adult eagle Abe after Abraham Lincoln.
Mid-South Raptor Center Director Knox Martin has dedicated his life to birds.
"First of all, it's rage. The fact that somebody out there, just because they have a gun, they think they can shoot anything that walks or flies," said Martin.
Martin said Abe made it through surgery well, but he just could not bounce back.
"It never showed any real improvement, it never ate on its own, it never really stood up or perched," explained Martin.
Abe's body is now en route to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Eagle Repository in Colorado.
The bird may be dead – but the symbol of national pride lives on.
"Then they are sent out to various Native American tribes and individuals who have requested eagle feathers or parts for religious ceremonies," said Martin. "So this bird, even though it's dead, it'll be utilized many ways by many different people."
Wildlife officers believe the bird was shot on purpose. It is a federal offense to shoot an eagle. As of right now, there have still been no arrests. If you have any information that leads to an arrest, you may be eligible for a $7,500 reward.
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