(WBIR) After a year of hard work, the American Eagle Foundation and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency released a young bald eagle back into the wild near Madisonville Thursday night.

A TWRA officer found the bird injured last May after it had been shot by someone. Since then, the agencies had been rehabbing the bird in hopes of letting it go free when it was strong enough.

It was also a special experience for students at Vonore Middle School, who attended the release. Officer Joe Pike hopes it inspire respect for wildlife.

"Hopefully we can teach them about wildlife and conserving it," said Pike Thursday. "Not necessarily protecting it, we want constructive use of wildlife, but eagles are something that are not to be used. They're to be enjoyed at looking at out in the wild."

TWRA is still searching for the person who shot the bird, but haven't received any leads.

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