Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park is a sacred place.
The veritable desert oasis is home to the critically endangered Devil’s Hole Pupfish and serves as a figurehead for desert and water conservation efforts. However, a trio of three drunks apparently think little of those efforts.
According to a statement released by The National Parks Service, the three men were drunk, armed with shotguns, and shameless when they broke into the preserved area of Death Valley National Park. In their wake, they left vomit, underwear, shotgun shells, and beer cans– not to mention a dead Devils Hole Pupfish— one of the rarest fish species on the planet Earth.
Authorities investigating the incident say the men jumped a fence, shot locks off two gates, and ultimately gained access to the restricted area with one of the men taking a naked dip in the protected waters of Devils Hole.
“Park employees found one dead critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish floating in the water. The specimen was collected at 17:46 on May 2, 2016. Evaluation of the state of decay indicates the pupfish died approximately 24-48 hours earlier, a window of time that includes the men’s entry to Devils Hole.The cause of death is not known.” – NPS Statement
Authorities have since identified the men but are waiting to release their names. So far, police have received an avalanche of anonymous tips concerning those involved and the search for the culprits is ongoing.
Find the entire NPS statement here: Devils Hole Vandals Identified