Hiker Faces Jail Time After Freeing Eagle From Hunting Trap

| by Lisa Fogarty

An Alaskan hiker who freed a trapped eagle faces serious charges today when she appears in court for what she says was an attempt on her part to make a hiking trail more safe.

Kathleen Adair of Juneau was hiking along Davies Creek Trail on Dec. 24 when she says she spotted an eagle in a trap along the path. Adair says she had every intention of alerting the Juneau Raptor Center about the bird, but that she knew it would be getting dark soon, the eagle was located 2 miles from the road, and that she didn’t think the eagle would survive in the trap all night, reports KTOO.

Adair did what she says she felt was the humane thing and, after photographing what she found and recording the GPS coordinates of the trap, reportedly untangled the bird from “two large long spring traps.”

“I knew at the time that the eagle didn’t have a very good chance. I knew if I left it there all night, it would have had a worse chance of surviving,” Adair said. “But even as it was, I could tell one of the legs was just dangling, just completely broken and I knew they wouldn’t be able to fix that, but I was hoping they could at least fix the other and keep it as an educational bird.”

She then says she noticed another small trap nearby and sprang it because she was worried it could injure her three dogs, who were along on the hike.

Adair thought she had covered all of her bases afterwards, by reportedly bringing the eagle to a volunteer’s house, sending the photos she had taken, and being told the Raptor Center would contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The eagle was reportedly brought to a vet in Juneau and later euthanized.

Three days later, Adair was reportedly leading a nine-person tour of the Davies Creek when she says she saw yet another large trap placed close to the hiking path. Knowing it was illegal to tamper with the traps, she made the decision to spring it because, she says, she feared the hikers would be hurt.

Police reportedly received a complaint from an anonymous trapper on Dec. 30 regarding an unknown person who was tampering with several of his legal traps. On Jan. 10, Adair was cited for the offense. 

Because of her alleged actions, Adair now faces a $500 fine and 30 days in jail because state officials say that, while it is legal to free an eagle from traps, it is not legal to hinder lawful traps.

Adair is being arraigned in court Friday and reportedly didn’t have an attorney on Thursday night.

Source: KTOO/Photo Credit: Edd’s Images/Flickr,