An eagle with one wing, held in a controlled environment for over three decades, was stolen from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in the middle of the night on July 16.
Make no mistake about it, it was deliberate.
A few days after the Quogue Wildlife Refuge held its annual fundraising gala, a man snuck in sometime between 2:15 and 4:15 AM. He had to cut a hole through two layers of fencing to reach Sammy’s cage; surveillance video captured the man walking briskly through the parking lot, appearing to carry the eagle in a bag or a blanket.
Despondent fans and friends of the bird initially offered $5000 for his return. The booty has since reached $12,500. A massive hunt is underway that reportedly stretches across the entire eastern seaboard with federal Fish and Wildlife Service Agents intensifying the hunt. Quogue Village Police Chief Christopher Isola urged anyone with information to come forward.
Sammy the bald eagle, according to lore, was shot when he was about four and lost his ability to fly when his wing was partially amputated. He was shipped to the sanctuary to live and prospered, feeding off large rodents and fresh fish. He is extremely strong with razor-sharp talons. He is not tame, but is nevertheless one the major attractions at the refuge and can be very friendly.
Cara Fernandes, the refuge’s program coordinator, said the eagle weighs eight to 10 pounds. Bald eagles can live in captivity for up to 50 years. In the wild, their life span is significantly lower due to predation and competition.