Three drunk men with a shotgun allegedly went on a vandalism spree at Death Valley National Park. At least one extremely rare Devil’s Hole Pupfish was believed to have been killed during the incident.
Death Valley National Park officers found a trail of beer cans, shotgun shells, puke, and even underwear left behind after the drunken night at Devil’s Hole. The three men fired about 10 shotgun shells when they were inside the southwestern Nevada natural wonder during the evening of April 30, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Park officers were alerted to the shooting vandalism after at least one of the rounds hit a motion sensor. The three unidentified men also reportedly shot the locks off of two gates in the 40-acre Devil’s Hole area, and hit several signs during the vandalism incident.
— Kris Burns (@chrizzy100) May 10, 2016
A cavern pool which stretches to unknown depths that is fed by a hot spring is at the heart of Devil’s Hole. The waterway at this section of the Death Valley National Park is the only place where the extremely tiny and rare Pupfish live in the wild, the Daily Mail reports.
The Death Valley Devil’s Hole Pupfish have been deemed “critically endangered.” There are only 115 of the fish known to still exist. The cavern pool has been estimated to be at least 500-feet deep — the Pupfish live in the shallow entryway of the waterway and dine on an algae mat.
The three drunken men likely did not know their actions were being captured by an underwater camera in Devil’s Hole. The footage reportedly shows one of the men wading into the Pupfish habitat.
“Something like this hasn’t happened in about 20 years. Occasionally people will throw something over the fence,” Death Valley National Park representative Abby Wine said about the shooting vandalism incident.
Life In Death Valley – Devil’s Hole Pupfish Video
In 1975, the Devil’s Hole Pupfish garnered protected status. The Supreme Court banned the pumping of groundwater near this section of Death Valley because of the adverse impact it would have on the rare fish. This particular variety of Pupfish is the smallest of the species and grows to a maximum of one-inch long. The other versions of the Desert Pupfish which live in the waters in the Southwest region are also on the endangered list. Scientists believe the modern Pupfish were spawned from ancestors who lived in Death Valley when the region boasted a far more wet environment.
“Devil’s Hole Pupfish have been teetering on the brink of extinction for years. The last thing they need are these idiots running amok in the last place on Earth where they still survive,” Ileene Anderson, a conservation senior scientist, said.
— Wade (@Intrepid_Daily) May 10, 2016
Death Valley National Park service staffers are currently examining the Devil’s Hole Pupfish found dead on Monday to determine if the actions of the three drunken men caused its demise. Video recordings stemming from the incident also reportedly revealed the vandalism suspects drove away from the scene in a “modified” blue Yamaha Rhino ATV.
Devil’s Hole is protected by not only a chain-link fence and a barbed wire fence, but also a high-tech security system which offers 24-hour a day surveillance of the area. A microwave dish mounted onto a tower high above the Death Valley cavern pool sustains the feed from the remote region of the park.
A $5,000 reward is being offered by the National Park Service for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the three men shown on the video recording. The Center for Biological Diversity is offering an additional $10,000 reward to sweeten the pot for anyone considering coming forward to help law enforcement officers attached to the case.
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