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United States

United States Code Annotated. Title 16. Conservation. Chapter 5A. Protection and Conservation of Wildlife. Subchapter II. Protection of Bald and Golden Eagles.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: 16 U.S.C. 668a - d



Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 10/2013

Summary:   The BGEPA prohibits any form of possession or taking of both bald and golden eagles.  The statute imposes criminal and civil sanctions as well as an enhanced penalty provision for subsequent offenses.  Further, the BGEPA provides for the forfeiture of anything used to acquire eagles in violation of the statute.  The statute excepts from its prohibitions on possession the use of eagles or eagle parts for exhibition, scientific, and Indian religious uses.  For discussion of Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion.


Statute in Full:

§ 668. Bald and golden eagles

§ 668a. Taking and using of the bald and golden eagle for scientific, exhibition, and religious purposes

§ 668b. Enforcement provisions

§ 668c. Definitions

§ 668d. Availability of appropriations for Migratory Bird Treaty Act

 

 

§ 668.  Bald and golden eagles

(a) Prohibited acts; criminal penalties

Whoever, within the United States or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, without being permitted to do so as provided in this subchapter, shall knowingly, or with wanton disregard for the consequences of his act take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or in any manner, any bald eagle commonly known as the American eagle, or any golden eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof of the foregoing eagles, or whoever violates any permit or regulation issued pursuant to this subchapter, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both: Provided, That in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for a violation of this section committed after October 23, 1972, such person shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both: Provided further, That the commission of each taking or other act prohibited by this section with respect to a bald or golden eagle shall constitute a separate violation of this section: Provided further, That one-half of any such fine, but not to exceed $2,500, shall be paid to the person or persons giving information which leads to conviction: Provided further, That nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit possession or transportation of any bald eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof, lawfully taken prior to June 8, 1940, and that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit possession or transportation of any golden eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof, lawfully taken prior to the addition to this subchapter of the provisions relating to preservation of the golden eagle.

(b) Civil penalties

Whoever, within the United States or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, without being permitted to do so as provided in this subchapter, shall take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or in any manner, any bald eagle, commonly known as the American eagle, or any golden eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest, or egg thereof of the foregoing eagles, or whoever violates any permit or regulation issued pursuant to this subchapter, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $5,000 for each such violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense. No penalty shall be assessed unless such person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with respect to such violation. In determining the amount of the penalty, the gravity of the violation, and the demonstrated good faith of the person charged shall be considered by the Secretary. For good cause shown, the Secretary may remit or mitigate any such penalty. Upon any failure to pay the penalty assessed under this section, the Secretary may request the Attorney General to institute a civil action in a district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found or resides or transacts business to collect the penalty and such court shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide any such action. In hearing any such action, the court must sustain the Secretary's action if supported by substantial evidence.

(c) Cancellation of grazing agreements

The head of any Federal agency who has issued a lease, license, permit, or other agreement authorizing the grazing of domestic livestock on Federal lands to any person who is convicted of a violation of this subchapter or of any permit or regulation issued hereunder may immediately cancel each such lease, license, permit, or other agreement. The United States shall not be liable for the payment of any compensation, reimbursement, or damages in connection with the cancellation of any lease, license, permit, or other agreement pursuant to this section.

CREDIT(S)

(June 8, 1940, c. 278, § 1, 54 Stat. 250; June 25, 1959, Pub.L. 86-70, § 14, 73 Stat. 143; Oct. 24, 1962, Pub.L. 87-884, 76 Stat. 1246; Oct. 23, 1972, Pub.L. 92-535, § 1, 86 Stat. 1064.)

 

§ 668a. Taking and using of the bald and golden eagle for scientific, exhibition, and religious purposes

Whenever, after investigation, the Secretary of the Interior shall determine that it is compatible with the preservation of the bald eagle or the golden eagle to permit the taking, possession, and transportation of specimens thereof for the scientific or exhibition purposes of public museums, scientific societies, and zoological parks, or for the religious purposes of Indian tribes, or that it is necessary to permit the taking of such eagles for the protection of wildlife or of agricultural or other interests in any particular locality, he may authorize the taking of such eagles pursuant to regulations which he is hereby authorized to prescribe: Provided, That on request of the Governor of any State, the Secretary of the Interior shall authorize the taking of golden eagles for the purpose of seasonally protecting domesticated flocks and herds in such State, in accordance with regulations established under the provisions of this section, in such part or parts of such State and for such periods as the Secretary determines to be necessary to protect such interests: Provided further, That bald eagles may not be taken for any purpose unless, prior to such taking, a permit to do so is procured from the Secretary of the Interior: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to such regulations as he may prescribe, may permit the taking, possession, and transportation of golden eagles for the purposes of falconry, except that only golden eagles which would be taken because of depredations on livestock or wildlife may be taken for purposes of falconry: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior, pursuant to such regulations as he may prescribe, may permit the taking of golden eagle nests which interfere with resource development or recovery operations.

CREDIT(S)

(June 8, 1940, c. 278, § 2, 54 Stat. 251; Oct. 24, 1962, Pub.L. 87-884, 76 Stat. 1246; Oct. 23, 1972, Pub.L. 92-535, § 2, 86 Stat. 1065; Nov. 8, 1978, Pub.L. 95-616, § 9, 92 Stat. 3114.)

 

 

§ 668b. Enforcement provisions

(a) Arrest; search; issuance and execution of warrants and process

Any employee of the Department of the Interior authorized by the Secretary of the Interior to enforce the provisions of this subchapter may, without warrant, arrest any person committing in his presence or view a violation of this subchapter or of any permit or regulations issued hereunder and take such person immediately for examination or trial before an officer or court of competent jurisdiction; may execute any warrant or other process issued by an officer or court of competent jurisdiction for the enforcement of the provisions of this subchapter; and may, with or without a warrant, as authorized by law, search any place. The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to enter into cooperative agreements with State fish and wildlife agencies or other appropriate State authorities to facilitate enforcement of this subchapter, and by said agreements to delegate such enforcement authority to State law enforcement personnel as he deems appropriate for effective enforcement of this subchapter. Any judge of any court established under the laws of the United States, and any United States magistrate judge may, within his respective jurisdiction, upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable cause, issue warrants in all such cases.

(b) Forfeiture

All bald or golden eagles, or parts, nests, or eggs thereof, taken, possessed, sold, purchased, bartered, offered for sale, purchase, or barter, transported, exported, or imported contrary to the provisions of this subchapter, or of any permit or regulation issued hereunder, and all guns, traps, nets, and other equipment, vessels, vehicles, aircraft, and other means of transportation used to aid in the taking, possessing, selling, purchasing, bartering, offering for sale, purchase, or barter, transporting, exporting, or importing of any bird, or part, nest, or egg thereof, in violation of this subchapter or of any permit or regulation issued hereunder shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States.

(c) Customs laws applied

All provisions of law relating to the seizure, forfeiture, and condemnation of a vessel for violation of the customs laws, the disposition of such vessel or the proceeds from the sale thereof, and the remission or mitigation of such forfeitures, shall apply to the seizures and forfeitures incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, under the provisions of this subchapter, insofar as such provisions of law are applicable and not inconsistent with the provisions of this subchapter: Provided, That all powers, rights, and duties conferred or imposed by the customs laws upon any officer or employee of the Treasury Department shall, for the purposes of this subchapter, be exercised or performed by the Secretary of the Interior or by such persons as he may designate.

CREDIT(S)

(June 8, 1940, c. 278, § 3, 54 Stat. 251; Oct. 17, 1968, Pub.L. 90-578, Title IV, § 402(b)(2), 82 Stat. 1118; Oct. 23, 1972, Pub.L. 92-535, § 3, 86 Stat. 1065; Dec. 1, 1990, Pub.L. 101-650, Title III, § 321, 104 Stat. 5117.)

 

§ 668c. Definitions

As used in this subchapter "whoever" includes also associations, partnerships, and corporations; "take" includes also pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb; "transport" includes also ship, convey, carry, or transport by any means whatever, and deliver or receive or cause to be delivered or received for such shipment, conveyance, carriage, or transportation.

CREDIT(S)

(June 8, 1940, c. 278, § 4, 54 Stat. 251; Oct. 23, 1972, Pub.L. 92-535, § 4, 86 Stat. 1065.)

 

§ 668d. Availability of appropriations for Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Moneys now or hereafter available to the Secretary of the Interior for the administration and enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of July 3, 1918 (16 U.S.C. § 703 et seq.), shall be equally available for the administration and enforcement of this subchapter.

CREDIT(S)

(June 8, 1940, c. 278, § 5, 54 Stat. 251.)

 



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