(KRON) — After an endangered California condor was fatally shot in San Benito County, federal wildlife officials announced a $5,000 reward on Wednesday to catch the person responsible.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the condor was found on private property along Lone Tree Road in Hollister in July of 2022. USFWS’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducted a necropsy and determined the cause of death to be trauma from a gunshot wound.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting of this condor is asked to contact the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement in Sacramento at 916-569-8478, or email Special Agent Victoria Van Duzer at Victoria_Vanduzer@fws.gov.
“The Service is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of this condor,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated.
California condors were listed as endangered in 1967. In the 1980s, California condor numbers reached a low of only 23 wild birds worldwide, and extinction seemed imminent, according to the Ventana Wildlife Society.
Intensive recovery and reintroduction efforts over the past three decades have brought the California condor population up to approximately 400. Pinnacles National Park, located south of Hollister, is home to some of these wild condors.
Condors can live 60 or more years. “With a wingspan of approximately 9.5 feet, California condors are among the largest flying birds in the world,” VWS wrote.
This species is protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Taking, shooting, injuring, or killing a condor are violations of these acts, federal wildlife officials said. The maximum penalty for a criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act is one year in jail and a $100,000 fine. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act carries maximum penalties ranging from six months to one year in jail, and fines up to $250,000.