Defenders of Wildlife is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of an endangered California condor that was found deceased on private property last summer.
On September 5, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publicly announced its investigation into a July 2022 death of a California condor found off Lone Tree Road in Hollister, California. The FWS Wildlife Forensics Laboratory concluded the cause of death was from a gunshot wound.
“The egregious killing of this condor was both senseless and significant, as the death of every single individual in the relatively small Central California condor flock matters,” said Pamela Flick, Defenders’ California program director. “Defenders is pleased to add to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reward to provide additional incentive to find the perpetrator and bring them to justice.”
Defenders’ reward adds to the $5,000 offered by the FWS for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting.
As of the last published population count in December 2022, there were 561 California condors in the world, with 214 in captivity and 347 in wild flocks. In Central California, where the deceased condor was found, the wild condor population is less than 100 individuals. This species remains reliant on releases of captive-bred birds to persist, as death rates continue to exceed rates of wild fledglings in free-flying flocks.
The taking, shooting or injuring of a California condor is a federal crime under both the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Act. The maximum penalty for violating the Endangered Species Act is one year in jail and a $100,000 fine per person. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, violators could be jailed for six months to one year with fines up to $250,000.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting of this condor can contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Sacramento, California at 916-569-8478 or email Special Agent Victoria Van Duzer at Victoria_Vanduzer@fws.gov. Individuals may remain anonymous.