Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Eggs taken from federally protected shorebird nest: Reward offered for information

July 1, 2009

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Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/



PIPING PLOVER PHOTOS: http://www.fws.gov/digitalmedia

line-height: 150%An imperiled shorebirds tenuous hold on survival took another hit this week when someone removed piping plover eggs from one nest and damaged fences protecting several more nests in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area in Highlands, N.J., between 4 p.m. Monday and 11 a.m. Tuesday.

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line-height: 150%“Two eggs were incubating in the nest on Monday, and they were gone on Tuesday,” said Christopher Dowd of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement. “The deliberate destruction of eggs, nests and their protective fencing has to be the ultimate insult to piping plovers and the people who work to protect these small birds against threats to the continued survival of the species.”

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line-height: 150%Fish and Wildlife Service special agents and National Park Service rangers are investigating the egg theft and intentional destruction. “Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service are offering a reward of up to $4,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible,” Dowd said.

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line-height: 150%People with information about the incident should contact either U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents at 908-787-1321 or the National Park Service’s Sandy Hook Unit 24-hour dispatch at 732-872-5900. The maximum penalty for killing a piping plover is six months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.

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line-height: 150% The Endangered Species Act has protected piping plovers since 1985 with a “threatened” designation, which means the bird faces the possibility of becoming an endangered species. Thanks to concerted efforts by federal, state, and local agencies and a dedicated cadre of volunteers, the Atlantic coast piping plover population shows modest increases but not enough for it to graduate from ESA protection.

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line-height: 150%New Jersey’s 2008 piping plover population was just 111 nesting pairs, and each pair produced an average of less than one chick that ultimately fledged, or developed flight feathers. New Jersey piping plover numbers range from a low of 93 pairs in 1987 and1998 to a high of 144 pairs in 2003.

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line-height: 150%These shorebirds fall victim to the vagaries of storm surges wiping out their nests; development destroying their habitat; and death from predators, like raccoons and foxes drawn to the beach by human food remains, and uncontrolled cats and dogs. Piping plover nests blend into the sandy and rocky shoreline so well that they are difficult to see and avoid. The tiny young chicks are especially vulnerable as they forage for food on the beach during the month between hatching and fledging.

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line-height: 150%For more information about Atlantic coast piping plovers, including a National Park Service photo essay, see http://www.fws.gov/northeast/pipingplover.

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0The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and a trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.

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-FWS-

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.