LITTLE ROCK â€” An $8,500 reward has been offered for information on the deaths of several Interior least terns found on a small island in the Arkansas River.
The endangered birds are protected by federal and state endangered species regulations. They are found anywhere along the Arkansas River, from the Oklahoma state line to the Mississippi River. Their main nesting area is a section of the river from Clarksville downstream to Pine Bluff.
The dead birds were found late last month and several spent shotgun shells also were discovered on the island. In addition to the dead terns, egg shell fragments also were found.
Earlier in June, researchers found more than 50 adult terns and two active nests on the island. Researchers believe the birds were beginning re-nesting activities following a flood on June 12.
The terns are protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.Â
Penalties can range from fines up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison, or both. Civil penalties up to $25,000 per violation also can be assessed.
The reward is being offered by the ArkansasÂ Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.