18. 06. 12. - 16:40
Hunter shoots golden eagle dead
A hunter who claims he accidentally shot a golden eagle dead is causing controversy in Ötztal in the Austrian Tirol.
Police are investigating the case in which hikers saw the protected species bird being shot out of the sky.
The German tourists were rambling in the Hochjoch-Hospiz im Rofental with their mountain guide Bernhard Kriner.
Horrified Kriner said: "We had seen the eagle circling and then we saw it being shot from the sky. We just couldn’t believe that someone had shot the eagle. A short while later we then saw two hunters packing their rifles into a nearby car."
The mountain guide approached the hunters and asked them about the event. But they denied any involvement. The guide then called the police who came to the scene.
When police questioned the hunters they claimed they had heard whimpering noises coming from a baby deer lying on a path and the eagle circling above. The pair claims they then made a shot to scare the eagle out of the way.
They claim it was not meant to hit the eagle but was an accident. They claim the shot hit a rock near the eagle that then rebounded and hit the eagle, killing it.
Police are investigating.
If the pair are found guilty of killing the eagle they could lose their hunting license and face a hefty fine.