Listen Live

STANTON COUNTY, Neb. – Two men from Honduras are facing charges after allegedly shooting and killing a bald eagle with the intention of cooking and eating it.

>> Read more trending news

In a news release, the Stanton County Sheriff said its deputies were called to a report of a suspicious vehicle northwest of the Wood Duck Recreation Area. Investigators said they located a vehicle in a field and made contact with two men who had a dead bald eagle.

“Further investigation revealed that the two had shot and killed the protected national bird in that area and stated that they planned on cooking and eating the bird,” deputies said in the news release.

Nebraska Game and Parks took custody of the eagle as well as the rifle used to kill it.

The bald eagle was adopted as the national symbol of the United States in 1782. Bald eagles were first protected in 1940 under the Bald Eagle Protection Act, which banned killing, selling or possessing the species. An amendment added in 1962 gave the golden eagle protected status as well.

Bald eagles were delisted from the Endangered Species Act in Aug. 2007, but are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The two men charged in Stanton County were identified as Ramiro Hernandez-Tziquin, 20, and Domingo Zetino-Hernandez, 20. Both men are Honduran nationals, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators told The New York Times that it is possible the men did not know they had killed a bald eagle. The pair may face additional federal charges pending the outcome of an investigation.

Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger told The New York Times that this was the first case of its kind he had handled in his jurisdiction. Unger said the suspects did not speak English, and deputies at the scene had to rely on a translation app to communicate.