CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A $5,000 reward was posted for information regarding the shooting of a bald eagle in Randolph County that resulted in the partial amputation of the bird’s wing.
The money for the reward was put up by a North Carolina non-profit organization called Help Asheville Bears (HAB), which routinely posts rewards for information regarding poaching and animal abuse cases. Founder of HAB Jody Williams said the organization was started after a local bear named Peaches lost one of its front paws from a bear trap.
“Here’s a quote that I like to use a lot. ‘All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men and women to do nothing.’ So, we had to stand up and do something, not only just for Peaches, but for all wildlife. Because if we don’t protect it, it’s not going to be here for future generations,” Williams said.
HAB was founded in 2019, and since then Williams said their rewards have led to more than 20 different poachers and animal abusers being caught for their actions, and not just for bears. HAB has put rewards on information relating to deer, alligators, veteran service dogs and of course, bald eagles.
“You name it, if we see something cruel—just like this case, the symbol of our nation, the bald eagle. I mean we’ve had quite a few rewards on bald eagles. I don’t know why people would shoot a bald eagle. It just makes no sense to me,” Williams said.
Williams said 2023 is already off to a busy start for Help Asheville Bears. Their Facebook page has grown to over 350,000 followers, and Williams said many of their tips come from followers of the page. ‘Money talks’ and says he’s had family members turn each other in for rewards that can range from a few thousand dollars, all the way to $10,000 in some cases.
“The state agencies on wildlife, no matter what state it is, they are spread thin. They’re undermanned, they’re underpaid, they’re underfunded, and the rewards those organizations offer is probably the best those organizations can do.”
The West Virginia DNR could not be reached for a comment regarding the progress or status of the investigation.
If you have any information relevant to the investigation, you can call the Help Asheville Bears anonymous tip line at 1-885-SOS-BEAR or call the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources at 304-558-6200.