Three men have been arrested and charged with the killing of a tiny fish (an endangered specie) destruction of property, trespassing and unlawful possession of a firearm by police after they allegedly broke into a fenced-off protected area of Death Valley National Park in Nevada on 30 April.
The 3 drunk men Steven Schwinkendorf, 29, Edgar Reyes, 35, and Trenton Sargent, 26, stomped around in the water of Devils Hole, they threw up in the pond, threw beer cans and boxer shorts over the area, and tore up the habitat of the Devils Hole pupfish, one of the rarest fish in the world. One of the fish was later found dead.
According to the National Parks Service, the men fired a gun at least 10 times at gate locks, a motion sensor and several signs. Sensitive scientific monitoring equipment was also damaged. They face the possibility of fines of up to $50,000 and a year in prison.
The Sherriff’s office said:
“Their unlawful visit ultimately culminated with at least one of the suspects stripping off their clothes and entering the water of Devils Hole.”
“The suspects in the water stomped around the shelf area of the critical ecosystem before swimming around the deeper water, leaving behind a pair of dirty underwear when finished.
“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.”
Source: The Guardian