Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Joshua Williams giving court-ordered apology to eagle after being convicted of endangered species harassment.
(Sioux Falls, SD) A peaceful Sunday of fishing turned sour for Josh Williams recently. The problems started when Mr. Williams hooked a nice smallmouth bass, and a bald eagle took notice. While the eagle swooped in, attempting to catch the bass in its talons, Mr. Williams was observed by a Fish and Wildlife Service officer trying to scare the eagle away by throwing stones at it.
The FWS officer testified in U.S. District Court of South Dakota that Mr. Williams had clearly violated one of the Endangered Species Act's prohibited activities that specifically makes it illegal to "...harass....an endangered or threatened species without a permit from the Secretary of the Department of the Interior."
The judge agreed, finding the man guilty of a misdemeanor violation of the Act. The judge was lenient in sentencing, however, requiring only that the man apologize to the eagle. Mr. Williams expressed remorse, stating that the eagle would be welcome to help him fish anytime it wanted to. The eagle had no comment.