Did Drunken Vandals Kill One of the World's Rarest Fish?
Three Death Valley vandals drunkenly broke into the secured habitat of one of the world's rarest fish and may have killed one of them, National Park Service officials said.
The NPS posted footage of what it said is a group of men who allegedly trespassed at Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park on August 30, the only place on earth that the Devils Hole pupfish calls home.
The men allegedly left behind beer cans, vomit and boxer shorts in the water, in which just 115 of the precious fish live, according to last count in April.
After motion sensors alerted officials to the break-in, which required the men to shoot through locks, one of the pupfish was found dead.
A necropsy is being performed on the pupfish to determine whether the vandals' actions may have caused the death of the endangered fish.
The fish population fluctuates widely each season, sometimes going as high as 500 while plummeting to just a dozen or so at other times.
Surveillance cameras actually show the feet of one of the alleged vandals as he trudges through Devils Hole in Nevada's Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
NPS officials say three men broke into a protected habitat for one fo the world's most endangered fish and left behind beer cans, boxer shorts and vomit (Photo: NPS)
The NPS began to secure the pupfish habitat after the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that developers could not pump water from the area.
The security was put in place to prevent vandals who might be among the many opposed to the decision, which was made to save the rare, albeit useless, fish.
Surveillance cameras recorded the men climbing over the fence and driving away in the direction of Crystal, Nevada.
The trio may have been riding in a blue Yamaha Rhino that's been customized with an added seat and safety cage, according to an NPS release.
The NPS says its offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalism and trespassing.