Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Critically endangered California condor death in Fresno County related to trespass marijuana cultivation

October 27, 2017

Contact(s):

Contact: Pam Bierce, pamela_bierce@fws.gov, 916-414-6542



Sacramento, Calif.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for information about any person(s) responsible for using rodenticides at  marijuana grows on privately owned land in Coalinga.

On April 4, 2017, an 8-year-old male condor was found dead on private land in Coalinga, California. The carcass was located near several illegally cultivated marijuana crops established by trespassers unbeknownst to the private landowner. After U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents and California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens retrieved the condor carcass, CDFW conducted eradication operations and removed over 11,000 marijuana plants and 2,500 pounds of trash and infrastructure from the site.

The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducted a thorough examination of the condor to determine the cause of death. Necropsy results indicated that the condor died from anticoagulant poisoning by brodifacoum. Brodifacoum is an extremely toxic and persistent chemical found in some rodenticides.

Illicit marijuana growers protect their plants from being eaten by nearby wildlife by spraying or coating their crops with fatal amounts of rodenticides, often in concentrations far exceeding manufacturer specifications, and of types that have been banned in the United States.

California condors are protected as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act. Killing a California condor is punishable by up to $100,000.00 in fines and a possible jail sentence.

The California condor, the largest land bird in North America, was listed as endangered in 1967.  California condors historically ranged across much of North America, but by 1940 their range diminished to the coastal mountains of southern California. In 1983, only 23 California condors remained worldwide.

The Service, in collaboration with public and private partners, established a captive breeding program in 1992 and has reintroduced captive-bred condors to the wild. The total population of California condors has grown to approximately 410 individuals, with fewer than 300 living in the wild.

Anyone with information about this or any California condor injuries or deaths should contact a Special Agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 916-569-8444. Anyone finding a dead or injured California condor should leave it in place, take a photo if possible, and report it immediately.

 

The 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. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit https://www.fws.gov/cno/ or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

 

                                                                                             -FWS-


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.