KINGMAN - Law enforcement officers with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents are investigating a self-reported shooting on an endangered California condor Thursday on the Kaibab Plateau.
State Game and Fish officers did the initial investigation and turned the matter over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The shooting in the Kaibab Plateau near the Grand Canyon comes at a time when the endangered Condor, which was down to 22 birds in the 1980s, has been reintroduced in northern Arizona, Utah and California, including in Mohave County along the Arizona Strip and the Grand Canyon.
Game and Fish did not identify the shooter or how he or she killed the bird.
It is illegal to deliberately shoot a condor and those involved in an accidental killing could face a fine of up to $1,000. Condors are the largest flying land bird in North America, with wingspans that reach more than nine feet. They descended from prehistoric birds and survived for eons, but because they are vultures, they began to die off in alarming numbers decades ago after ingesting lead fragments from bullets in animal carcasses. Poaching and habitat destruction also played key roles in the near extinction of the bird. Indeed, the bird was declared extinct in the wild in 1987, when conservationists collected the remaining known 22 birds left to keep the species alive. As of a year ago, there were about 420 of them either in the wild or in captivity.
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