GILFORD — A second loon found shot last month has died, leading state and federal authorities to issue a second $5,000 reward for information about who shot the endangered birds.
The reward is now a combined $10,000. The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust earlier offered a reward for up to $5,000.
A wounded loon was found early on May 20 near the Cocheco River in Dover. The bird was taken to an emergency veterinary hospital, where X-rays revealed that the bird had been shot, Fish and Game officials said.
The loon was released back into the wild but was found dead this week, officials said.
Later on May 20, another dead loon was found on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford near Varney Point. It was later confirmed that the loon had been shot and killed, authorities said.
The investigation has not yet determined if the birds were shot by the same person, but the slugs appeared of different caliber, Fish and Game officials said.
Fish and Game Lt. Heidi Murphy said Friday that both birds have been sent for necropsies – animal versions of autopsies – to get more information.
Loons are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has maximum penalties of $15,000 for killing a loon, with possible imprisonment of up to a year. In New Hampshire, loons are listed as a threatened species and protected under state laws.
The Loon Preservation Committee, headquartered in Moultonborough, said the state has 284 pairs of loons.Anyone with information regarding the shootings is asked to contact Special Agent Robert Rothe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Concord 223-2541, or the Fish and Game Department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-244-4262 or www.wildnh.com/OGT.