On April 20th, 3 younger men drove their 4X4 vehicle to the Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park. Once there, the three suspects shot off locks with shotguns, disturbed delicate habitat, and may have killed one of the rarest and most endangered fish on the planet earth– The Devils Hole Pupfish.
“The intrusion is believed to have resulted in the death of at least one endangered Devils Hole pupfish, and fisheries biologists are trying to ascertain the extended damage that may have been done to food sources and egg sites, which could lead to more loss of a species whose numbers are now below the last count of 115 in existence.” – Nye County Sheriff’s Office
Following camera footage of their boozed up antics, a manhunt ensued immediately with The Center for Biological Diversity putting a $15,000 bounty for whoever apprehended those responsible.
According to the LA Times, the police have since found the culprits. The three suspects are 26 year-old Trenton Sargent of Indian Springs, NV.; 29 year-old, Steven Schwinkendorf of Pahrump, NV; and 25 year-old, Edgar Reyes of North Las Vegas, NV.
The three individuals have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, killing of an endangered species, destruction of property, trespassing, and destruction of habitat.
Killing an endangered species is considered a felony
Security camera footage clearly shows the men breaking, entering, and one of the suspects splashing through the water before taking a buck-naked dip in the protected pool and home to the Devils Hole Pupfish.
They left behind beer cans, underwear, and shotgun shells.
In an interview with the LA Times, Ileene Anderson of The Center for Biological Diversity said, “We’re looking forward to seeing these three men brought to justice.”
About The Devils Hole Pupfish
The Devils Hole pupfish (Cyprinodon diabolis) is a species of fish native to Devils Hole, a geothermal at 92 °F (33 °C),aquifer-fed pool within a limestone cavern, in the Amargosa Pupfish Station of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex east of Death Valley National Park. It has been described as the world’s rarest fish, and possibly evolved only a few hundred years ago. – Wikipedia
Find the entire LA Times article here: 3 men face felony charges in killing of endangered pupfish in Death Valley