EDDY COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a symbol of America, an awe inspiring symbol. So who in the world would shoot a bald eagle?

That’s what investigators in northern New Mexico are trying to figure out.

Meanwhile a group of doctors and wildlife workers are doing everything they can to save the bird.

It is a magnificent animal that usually stands tall and strong but not this one. It had been shot.

Embedded in its wing were two lead pellets that were slowly killing it.

Thankfully, a rafter found him before it was too late.

Now those at the Española Wildlife Center are nursing him back to health.

First local vet Andy Cameron had to get the lead pellets out through surgery. Now they need to get the lead that is poisoning his blood out: a slow and uncertain process.

Those at the wildlife center are cautiously optimistic about his recovery and angry someone would do this.

But they say it happens more than people think. They say until it stops they’ll do everything they can to save these beautiful animals.

Workers say it’s clear this guy has some fight still in him.

Treating this animal is not cheap. The Española Wildlife Center is a non-profit and relies on donations.

While the bald eagle population in New Mexico has rebounded significantly in the last 20 years, there are still only an estimated 450 in the state and it’s still considered a threatened species.