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Reward Set in Condor Death

March 08, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Conservation groups will offer a $30,000 reward for information about the person who killed a California condor last month in Kern County, officials announced Friday.

Condor AC-8, one of about 80 endangered condors in the wild, was found shot to death Feb. 13. The female bird was one of the wild condors caught by government biologists in a last-ditch attempt to save the species from extinction.

She had been an important member of the captive breeding program for 14 years, hatching 12 eggs in captivity. AC-8 was released back into her native environment in 2000, the first of the original wild birds in the program to be set free.

"We are hopeful the establishment of this reward fund will help investigators solve this heinous crime," said Peter Galvin, a director for the Center for Biological Diversity in Oakland, which announced the reward.

The reward fund has received pledges from numerous conservation groups, Galvin said, including a $25,000 donation from the Wendy P. McCaw Foundation of Santa Barbara, which supports animal welfare and wildlife protection.

Killing a condor is a felony that carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is investigating the killing of AC-8, has also offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit. Federal officials would not specify the amount.

In addition to the condors that are in the wild in California, Arizona and Utah, 118 remain in captivity at the San Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo.

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