Conservation groups have added to a reward worth tens of thousands of dollars for information relating to two California condors found with shotgun wounds in Monterey County in recent weeks.
The reward has been increased to more than $40,000, Adam Keats, director of the urban wildlands program for the Center for Biological Diversity, said Thursday
The first incident was reported on March 10 when biologists from the Ventana Wildlife Society found an adult male condor, known as #286, suffering from 15 buckshot wounds from lead buckshot pellets, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.
On March 26, this rare incident became a pattern when a wounded young female condor, known as #375, was discovered in the same area in Monterey County. She had three shotgun pellets lodged in her wing and thigh.
The condor was suffering from lead poisoning, according to the Ventana Wildlife Society biologists who found the bird, which is now being treated at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Both birds are alive, but Keats said it's not yet clear whether they will ever be able to return to the wild. The condors were part of a flock located near Big Sur, he said, and two of only 85 condors living in the wild in California.
"The shooting of these two endangered birds is callous and infuriating," Jennifer Fearing with the Humane Society said Thursday.
The California Department of Fish and Game is investigating the shootings, but spokeswoman Jordan Traverso said Thursday that the department has no information on leads, suspects, or motives.
Keats said the last time a condor was shot was in 2003, and publicity surrounding the incident led to a tip-off identifying the responsible person.
The reward of more than $40,000 is for information leading to the arrest of the person, or people, responsible for the shootings. If convicted, the shooter may face penalties under both state and federal laws.