California condor flying at Pinnacles National Park (not the shot bird). Photo courtesy of Pinnacles National Park.
California condor flying at Pinnacles National Park (not the shot bird). Photo courtesy of Pinnacles National Park.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is investigating the shooting of a California condor found in Hollister on July 5, 2022.

According to the release, Biologists from Pinnacles National Park Condor Recovery program found the deceased bird on private property off Lone Tree Road. The bird was a three-year-old captive bred male, #972, released into Pinnacles National Park in February 2021 as part of the Central Coast population. The Service’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory conducted a necropsy and determined the cause of death to be trauma from a gunshot wound.  

​Joanna Gilkeson, public affairs/media officer with Fish and Wildlife’s Sacramento office said investigators are hoping somebody knows something and will come forward.

She added that as the shooting is still under investigation there is information that cannot be shared at this time.

“There are not a lot of these birds left so every individual counts,” Gilkeson said.

As of August 2023, there are 559 condors worldwide. Of those, 345 live in the wild and 93 are part of the Central Coast Flock.

The release said California condors are protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Taking, shooting, injuring, or killing a condor are violations of these acts. The maximum penalty for a criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act is one year in jail and a $100,000 fine per individual (or $200,000 per organization). The Migratory Bird Treaty Act carries maximum penalties ranging from six months to one year in jail and fines up to $250,000 per individual, depending on whether an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Fish and Wildlife Service is asking anyone with information regarding the shooting to contact the its Office of Law Enforcement in Sacramento, California 916-569-8478 or email Special Agent Victoria Van Duzer ( Callers with information may remain anonymous. The Service is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the shooting of this condor. 

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Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College and she reports on science and the environment....