Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the two men were cited by authorities.
STANTON COUNTY, Neb. (KCAU) — Two men have been cited for killing an American bald eagle and planning to make a meal of it, Nebraska authorities say.
According to a release from the Stanton County Sheriff’s Office, officials were called around 4 p.m. to investigate a suspicious vehicle at the main Wood Duck Recreation Area near Stanton, Nebraska.
Officials said they found the vehicle in a field, where the two men had a dead eagle with them.
According to the release, officials said Ramiro Hernandez-Tziquin and Domingo Zetino-Hernandez, both 20, had shot the eagle, a protected species, and planned to cook and eat it.
Officials cited the two men, both of whom are Honduran nationals who needed an interpreter, for the unlawful possession of an eagle. Herneanez-Tziquin was also cited for not having a driver’s license.
Nebraska Games and Parks took the bird and the rifle allegedly used to shoot it.
The investigation is ongoing, and more serious charges are possible.
According to the National Audubon Society, the number of bald eagles had been in serious decline — due largely to shootings — during most of the 20th century. However, their numbers have been seeing a gradual increase since the 1970s.