Bald Eagle Rescued from Leghold Trap

Last week, a bald eagle was found in a leghold trap by hunters in Salem, N.H. and rescued by local police.

“I was on on call and spoke to the hunter,” Sgt. Mike Wagner told ABC News. “But I didn’t believe it was an eagle. In my 41 years on Earth I’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild.”

Rescuers covered the eagle, who was wearing an identification band, with a blanket while getting the trap open. Fortunately, the only injury they found was a cut on its leg and it flew off after being freed.

Officials believe the eagle was lured to the trap by the remains of a skinned beaver and raised concerns about the location of the trap, which was reportedly set near a populated street. However, Fish and Game officials concluded that the trapper hadn’t violated any gaming laws.

Luckily for the eagle in question it was an endangered species and not an a target animal that anyone wanted to see dead or felt the need to torture, it was found by people who cared enough to help and report the incident and it was found before it fell victim to predation and before it resorted to self-mutilation in an attempt to free itself. Who knows how many hours it would have been left there to suffer had it not been discovered. Unfortunately, other target and non-target animals who are caught in traps are not so lucky.

Last Friday, protesters from the New Hampshire Animal Rights League (NHARL) picketed the state’s Fish and Game Commission to acknowledge Fur Free Friday, a day devoted to educating the public about the cruelty behind the fur trade.

Fish and Game was chosen because of its policies that allow the use of leghold traps, Conibear traps and drowning snares and because the commission is the one making money off of the licenses it sells.

“Besides the pain endured by an animal tearing at his flesh and bones in order to escape from his trap, the cruelty of the trapper’s killing methods should not be overlooked. Fish and Game violates its own New Hampshire cruelty statute by choosing not to regulate the methods by which a trapper kills his victim – be it drowning, bludgeoning, or suffocating- all methods considered inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) under its euthanasia guidelines,” according to the group.

The last attempt to ban the sale, possession and transport of “raw skins or unskinned carcasses” in the state, which would have essentially put an end to trapping, failed in 2010.

The NHARL and other groups are encouraging people to protect wildlife and shop compassionately by not buying anything with fur or fur trim.


Related Stories:

Wildlife Specialist Posts Pics of His Dogs Torturing Coyote in Trap

Fur Free Friday: Help Stop the Cruel Fur Trade

Victory! West Hollywood Bans Fur


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Kelly Lowry
Kelly Lowry4 years ago

There is no longer a need to trap animals..unless your still dragging your knuckles

Tim C.
Tim C4 years ago


Past Member
Nina S4 years ago

Stop this insanity!

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

Ban leghold traps! And make the punnishments harsh for those who use them!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred H5 years ago

Thank you Alicia, for Sharing this!

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing, glad the bald eagle was saved

Stelios A.
Stelios A5 years ago

Well done

Betsy M.
Betsy M5 years ago

Anger at hunters who provide animals that are in demand is an ineffective way to bring change. Agressive campaigns against elephant hunters had little effect. The campaign to make ivory socially unacceptable was what almost ended elephant hunting. [Sadly the taste for ivory seems to be returning]
Associating the horrible violence of the old style jagged leg traps with fur was what got them banned. Educating about the suffering of animals by the new leghold traps can have a similar effect. When people create a market for fur, there will be a supply.

Betsy M.
Betsy M5 years ago

THe responses to this article are scaring me. Think about what you are saying. All leghold traps should be barred, but if you ban all traps:
1. Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) methods of keeping feral cat colonies alive will be disbanned and the animals will proliferate cruelly and/or be killed.
2.Dangerous animals that cannot be sedated will be shot instead of trappe (happens too often as it is).
3. Vermin that enter homes and work areas will be killed more often. Exclusion sometimes works, but trapping is an important option that saves a lot of lives.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright5 years ago

I agree 1000% with Ryan B.......traps should only be used on those who abuse, neglect, abandon, torture or murder an animal.

Traps need to be banned NOW. They are heinous and savage.

Glad this bald eagle was okay.....he is one of the lucky ones. Not all animals caught in these horrid traps are this lucky.