2 piping plover nesting sites vandalized at Maine beaches
Maine and federal wildlife agencies are investigating the vandalism of two piping plover nesting sites in southern Maine, officials said Tuesday.
Piping plovers are listed as endangered in Maine, and listed as threatened nationally by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Maine Warden Service said the fencing of an enclosure near Goosefare Brook in Saco was vandalized in the middle of the night on July 4.
The enclosure fencing was destroyed. The adults and chicks abandoned their nest, and one of the chicks was found dead, officials said.
The second incident took place in Old Orchard Beach in the middle of the night on July 4.
A nesting enclosure that housed a nesting pair of adult chicks was taken down, and a nest with three eggs was temporarily abandoned.
The harassment or death of an endangered or threatened species can lead to state and federal charges resulting fines of up to $25,000 and six months imprisonment.
Wildlife officials said anyone with information in the incidents should call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US or 624-7076.
Piping plovers fly to Maine every spring in search of safe shores to raise families, feed and rest.
After nearly 35 years of conservation by many partners and the cooperation of beachgoers, Maine's population of the birds has grown from 15 breeding pairs in 1986 to 89 pairs in 2019.