April 9, 2009
Reward Offered in Endangered California Condor Poaching Incidents
SACRAMENTO — The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting two California condors last month in Monterey County, Calif. The HSUS and Wildlife Land Trust offer adds to a reward fund established by the Center for Biological Diversity, which now totals more than $30,000. Cal-TIP (Californians Turn In Poachers) has also contributed $5,000 in reward money.
The Case: Media reports and a Department of Fish and Game news release give the following account: In early March, biologists with the Ventana Wildlife Society, based in Monterey, found an adult male condor with lead shotgun pellets lodged in his body. About three weeks later, biologists found a juvenile female condor in the same area with lead shotgun pellets in her wing and thigh. The condors are part of flock located near Big Sur.
Both condors are wounded but still alive. The first bird found is in critical condition; his digestive system is debilitated due to lead poisoning and veterinarians must feed him through a tube. While the second condor is in better condition, the pellet injured her left wing and it is unclear whether she will be able to fly.
"The shooting of these condors is a grave affront to an endangered species' struggle to overcome extinction," said The HSUS' Jennifer Fearing, who is based in Sacramento. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds the California Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife for investigating these incidents."
Because of the toxic effects of lead on condors, California passed a law in 2007 that protects condors from lead poisoning by prohibiting hunters from using lead ammunition while in condor territory. Condors are also protected by the California Endangered Species Act and the and by the federal Endangered Species Act. If convicted, the poacher or poachers may face penalties under both state and federal laws.
Last year, The Humane Society of the United States urged a nationwide ban on lead-shot ammunition after the lead poisoning of seven critically endangered California condors. One of the seven birds has died, vivid evidence that this ammo keeps on killing long after it leaves the gun barrel.
Not just condors, but other scavengers feed from animal remains riddled with lead shot, passing this poison deeper and deeper into the wildlife food chain — and eventually into the human food chain as well. Several states have removed all donated game meat from the shelves of food banks because of lead contamination.
Many hunters support the use of nontoxic alternative shot, and voluntary programs in some areas have resulted in significant reductions in lead shot usage. Lead shot has been banned in waterfowl hunting in the U.S. since 1991.
Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the California Department of Fish and Game TIP line at: 1-888-DFG-CalTIP (1-888-334-2258).
The HSUS works to stop wildlife abuse and animal cruelty across the country. Visit humanesociety.org/wildlifeabuse for more information.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting forthe protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.
Since 1993 the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, alone or in partnership with other conservation groups, has participated in the protection of millions of acres of wildlife habitat in 37 states and seven foreign countries. On all properties owned by the Trust or protected by the Trust's conservation easement, both here and abroad, we prohibit recreational and commercial hunting and trapping and restrict logging and development. The Trust's commitment to these principles will never change as we continue to assist caring landowners to make their property permanent, safe homes for wildlife. Join our online community at wildlifelandtrust.org.