RICHMOND, NOV. 28 -- A $3,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the killings and mutilations of more than 30 hawks found two weeks ago in Fluvanna County.
"These birds are protected by state and federal law," said Ed Clark, president and director of the nonprofit Wildlife Center of Virginia, the state's only hospital for injured wildlife.
"The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are conducting an extensive investigation," Clark said. "This crime is of unprecedented proportions."
Nearly 60 hawk feet were found strung together with twine near Lake Monticello in Fluvanna County this month. Seven freshly killed carcasses were also found bound together. Officers estimated that more than 30 birds had been slaughtered.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said several species were included, with the majority of the birds redtail hawks.
Investigators said no motive for the killings has been established.
Clark said the wildlife center, located in Weyers Cave in Augusta County, is accepting donations for the reward fund and information about the killings. "This is . . . overt malice," Clark said. "We are trying to ferret out some information that will provide the tip we need to make an arrest. When someone kills 37 hawks, it's an outrage."
Officials say the penalty for killing one hawk is up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.