SUNRIVER, Ore. - (Update: Reward increased to $1,500)
The Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory announced Friday an increased reward, to $1,500, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for illegally shooting the well-known trumpeter swan, Chuck, on Thanksgiving Day.
The East Cascades Audubon Society has generously offered an additional $500 for the reward, bringing the total to $1,500, the announcement said.
Persons with any information regarding this incident should call the Sunriver Police at 541-593-1014.
The Sunriver Police Department, in partnership with Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, announced Wednesday they are offering a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who shot a protected swan on Thanksgiving Day.
The trumpeter swan, known as Chuck, was an iconic resident of Lake Aspen in Sunriver.
He and his mate, Gracie, produced six young over the last two years as part of a conservation breeding program to support the reintroduction of trumpeter swans to Oregon. The program is led by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Trumpeter Swan Society.
The incident occurred on the Deschutes River just northwest of the resort community. Trumpeter swans are a protected species in Oregon, officials said, and hunting them is illegal.
Sunriver police, assisted by the Oregon State Police Fish & Game Division, are actively investigating this incident, officials said.
Police said Wednesday they have established that Chuck was shot between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, based on public sightings and the time the swan was found, bleeding profusely.
"We don't believe that this was a hunter out waterfowl hunting," Sunriver Police Chief Marc Mills said. "We believe this was an intentional act, that they knew what their target was, and that's currently where we are at."
Chuck's mate, Gracie, and their four cygnets left the Lake Aspen area near the Sunriver Nature Center.
The five swans have made their way to the Deschutes River and are near Benham Falls.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife crews were unsuccessful on Wednesday in capturing the five swans, but they did move the trap closer to the location of where the swans were located. The birds can't fly because their wings are clipped.
Any information regarding the shooting should be reported to the Sunriver Police at 541-593-1014. The Sunriver Police will determine eligibility and administer issuance of the reward if warranted.
Individuals wishing to contribute to a reward may do so by contacting the Sunriver Nature Center at 541-593-4442 or by using the link at www.sunrivernaturecenter.org entitled “Support Our Mission” and noting that the funds are for the reward. Any excess proceeds from these gifts will be used to support the reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans to Oregon and to memorialize Chuck’s spirit at the Nature Center.
Since its founding in 1968, the non-profit Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory has provided a wide array of environmental and astronomy programs, events, and exhibits for residents and visitors. The Observatory offers the largest number of telescopes for public viewing in the United States. More information is a available at www.SunriverNatureCenter.org and www.OregonObservatory.org.