How did a wildlife lover become one of the bloodiest poachers in California history?


Richard Parker was a self-described naturalist. Then an anonymous tip led investigators to a scene of ‘carnage’

  • This article contains animal images some viewers may find distressing

The California department of fish and wildlife relies on an intricate network of citizen-informants to help do its job. The agency’s secret tip line is a critical tool in the fight against wildlife crimes because, in more rural areas of the state, a single wildlife officer can be responsible for thousands of miles of territory.

Todd Kinnard is one such officer – tasked with overseeing agency operations across the expansive Lassen county, five hours north-east of San Francisco by car. He was on duty when an anonymous tip came in that someone in the county was shooting raptors, birds of prey such as red-tailed and ferruginous hawks.

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