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DEC issues fines for loon harassment

RAY BROOK - Environmental Conservation police recently announced the issuing of tickets to individuals alleged to have intentionally harassed and harmed loons in the Adirondacks this summer.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to investigate incidences of loon harassment they say occured in the towns of Inlet and Tupper Lake.

The guardian of two teenage boys was ticketed after it was determined by DEC police the boys, ages 13 and 14, had approached a loon nest along the Fulton Chain with a canoe paddle June 12, frightening off the adult loon and breaking one of the eggs with the paddle.

The maximum penalty for destroying the nest of a protected bird carries a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Another incident occurred July 12 when DEC received a complaint of boaters harassing nesting loons on Raquette Lake in Hamilton County.

Although it was first reported the eggs in this nest were also destroyed, the officer's investigation determined the eggs were still intact. Two eggs from the nest did eventually successfully hatch, but the incident remains under investigation.

Yet another incident occurred July 21 in Tupper Lake where six different witnesses reported a youth operating a personal watercraft on Raquette Pond near Municipal Park. The youth is alleged to have intentionally targeted two adult and three juvenile loons swimming on the pond. It is unknown if any loons were injured or killed as a result.

Investigation led DEC police to charge a 16-year-old male from Tupper Lake with the Environmental Conservation Law - illegally taking protected wildlife - and three violations of Navigation Law - operating an unregistered vessel, operating a personal watercraft without a boater safety certificate, and operating a personal watercraft without a fire extinguisher.

The youth faces a possible maximum fine of $250 for the Environmental Conservation Law violation and possible total maximum fines of $650 for the three Navigation Law violations. The tickets are answerable in Tupper Lake Town Court.

In addition to violating New York State's Environmental Conservation Law, intentional harassment of loons is also illegal under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and carries a possible maximum fine and penalty of $5,000 and a six-month jail sentence under federal laws.

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