Yesterday the State of Florida announced it would not pursue charges against three naval officers and 4 other accomplices for killing 21 birds on a nature preserve in Goodland, Florida in the Everglades.
The massacre occurred on February 17th of 2009. Fish and Wildlife officers heard gunshots and watched birds drop out of the sky. Two hours later four people walked from the rookery and three others left in a boat that was loaded with guns and ammunition.
The protected birds included 11 White Ibis, 2 Blue Herons, a Tri-colored Heron and a Snowy Egret. Also pictured but not protected is the Double-crested Cormorant.
Charges were not pursued because:
A) witnesses did not actually see anyone pull the trigger.
B) No prints were found on the weapons. The guns were presumably wiped clean of fingerprints.
C) The confession could not be used in court because the arresting officer had yet to read the person their rights
D) All four "corners" of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve must be posted with No Trespassing signs and fenced. (See map below)
February 18th article in the Naples News
May 6th article
This would not stand if it were people and I won't pretend to understand the complications of the law. There is still a federal investigation into the matter and the naval officers are suspended from active duty but it disgusts me anyway