Craig Staloch, Minnesota farmer, charged in pelican massacre
|The American White Pelican is not endangered -- unless it's on Craig Staloch's land.|
Staloch's facing a single misdemeanor charge of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for his bird massacre, which left a flock-full of American White Pelican chicks and eggs destroyed.
Staloch was renting farmland in Minnesota Lake, near the Iowa border. His particular piece of land had become home to thousands of pelicans, which the DNR valued, and Staloch apparently did not.
Staloch called the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to ask what his "options" were, regarding the pelicans. After he got off the phone, Staloch took the one option he was told was not allowed, and tried to destroy them all.
For his killing spree, Staloch could get up to six months in prison or pay a $15,000 fine.
On May 17, a DNR specialist came to Staloch's land, a known pelican hangout, and surveyed the bird population, finding "a large number of adult pelicans, many of which were sitting on nests," according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.
|Despite their big beaks, pelicans are not actually a threat to humans.|
The adult pelicans seen the day before were nowhere to be found. It got worse: When the researchers inspected nests, they found eggs that looked like they'd been "crushed by a heavy stick or a forceful object," and chicks that had died of exposure.
The researchers counted 1,458 nests, most of them with two eggs, and said that more than 70 percent of them had been destroyed.