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April 19, 2005

Reward offered in shooting of Great Blue Heron

Bird undergoes 3 hour surgery at IBRRC in Fairfield, CA to repair damaged wing

Fairfield, CA

Blue Heron x-ray

Heron shot - X-ray shows fractured wing and metal fragments from ammunition that hit a Great Blue Heron in Fairfield. (IBRRC photo)

A great blue heron, shot and left to die in Fairfield, is in guarded condition after undergoing a three hour surgery to repair its wing. Humane Animal Services was notified by a resident of the Brighton Court area of Fairfield that the heron was injured and in need of help. The bird was rushed to International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in Cordelia, which specializes in the care and treatment of waterfowl and aquatic birds.

IBRRC is appealing to the public for information that might lead to the arrest of the person responsible for this senseless crime. Rewards totaling $5,000 have been offered by two animal welfare organizations; $2,500 from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and $2,500 from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Great blue herons are not an endangered species, but are protected under Federal Migratory Bird laws. The shooting of a Great Blue Heron could be a felony in the State of California which has strict animal cruelty laws.

Blue heron photo

After surgery the Great Blue Heron is in guarded condition at the bird hospital at IBRRC. (IBRRC photo)

UC Davis veterinarian, Greg Massey, operated on heron for three hours to remove a bullet which went through the bird’s ulna, the portion of the wing which is like a human’s forearm. Dr. Massey was assisted by several students from the Veterinary School at UC Davis. IBRRC and the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center work cooperatively helping birds in need of special care.

“Although it is bad enough that someone would shoot an innocent wild creature, the fact that this is an adult bird and it is breeding season means the possibility exists that there are eggs or babies in a nest and they will die. If this bird survives it won’t breed again until next year,” said Jay Holcomb, Director of IBRRC.

The relationship between animal abuse and violence against humans is well documented and cases like this are taken very seriously by law enforcement officers. Anyone with information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of person responsible for the shooting of this heron should call Officer Baon, Humane Animal Services, who is heading the investigation. The number for Humane Animal Services is 707-449-1700.

Anyone witnessing the harassment or harming of wildlife can call the Department of Fish & Game’s CALTIP (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters) at 1-888-DFG-CALTIP.

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