Party in national park may have killed pupfish

Posted at 2:23 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 07:31:06-04

Three men are being sought after an endangered Devils Hole pupfish was found dead at Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park.

In addition, the men discharged a firearm at least 10 times, shooting the locks off two gates, blasting a motion sensor on a security system, and hitting several signs during the incident on April 30.

At least one man also went swimming in Devils Hole, leaving his boxer shorts in the water. The men also left three beer cans behind and one of the men vomited.

Park employees found the dead pupfish on Monday. A necropsy is being performed on the pupfish to determine the exact cause of death.

Although the men attempted to disable the security system, they were still caught on camera. They were recorded climbing over a fence and driving away in the direction of Crystal.

The vehicle caught on camera appeared to be a blue Yamaha Rhino which had been extensively customized with an added seat and safety cage. A reward of up to $5,000 is available for information leading to arrest and conviction in this case. Tips can be reported to the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch at 1-888-653-2229.

The incident is being investigated by the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Nye County Sheriff's Office.

Devils Hole is the only natural habitat of the critically endangered Devils Hole pupfish. It is located about 90 miles west of Las Vegas. The Devils Hole pupfish has been federally protected since 1967.