April 19, 2019

A Northern California man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to killing more than 150 protected birds and other wildlife. Authorities are calling it the largest raptor poaching case in California history.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers began investigating Parker last March after receiving a tip by someone who saw a man kill a hawk near Standish, a rural Lassen County town about 135 miles northeast of Sacramento. When they searched Parker’s property, officers found 159 dead animals, most of them red-tailed hawks but also two bobcats, a taxidermied mountain lion and an owl.

Authorities ordered the two firearms used to commit the crimes be destroyed. As part of his probation terms, Parker is prohibited from possessing firearms and fishing and hunting.

“Poaching is not a game, it’s a serious crime,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. “Richard Parker willfully and egregiously disregarded California law to kill protected wildlife, including hawks. To anyone who breaks our laws for illegal sport, know that we will prosecute and hold you accountable.”

The red-tailed hawk is a bird of prey common throughout most of North America. It can survive in a variety of environment and is known to prey on small mammals, like rodents and ground squirrels. The bird is also highly trainable, making it a popular bird for falconry.

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