A bald eagle was found shot dead in Erie County, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced Friday. Officials are now searching for the gunman responsible. 

 

According to the commission's Facebook page, the mature bald eagle was found Thursday night. The state game warden determined it had been shot and is investigating the incident. 

The commission is asking for the public's help in its search for the gunman, who killed the bird near Hope Cemetery in Elk Creek Township. 

 

Bald eagles became the poster species for the Endangered Species Act, and their population has soared over the last 40 years after rapidly declining in the 1970s. In 2007, the bald eagle was taken off the endangered species list.  

However, they are still protected by state statutes and a federal law passed by Congress in 1940 that makes it illegal to kill a bald eagle.

While their situation has improved, there is still work to be done. In 2016, 13 bald eagleswere poisoned and found dead on a Maryland farm. The eagles died from carbofuran, a toxic pesticide that was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009.