FRESNO, Calif. -- A 41-year-old Porterville, Calif., man faces federal poaching charges after agents say they tied him to the killing of a golden eagle and found several bird parts in a subsequent search of his home.
Kudura Clark entered a plea of not guilty this month on misdemeanor charges of unlawful possession of migratory birds and unlawful taking or possession of bald or golden eagles.
Though the alleged crimes took place in late 2007 and early 2008, Clark was charged last week in U.S. District Court in Fresno. His arraignment on the charges is scheduled for Aug. 26.
On Nov. 7, 2007, according to a probable-cause statement in the Clark incident, state game wardens responded to a report of eagle poaching near Bakersfield. The wardens found Clark and another man, who had two rifles. Nearby was a dead golden eagle with a 104-degree body temperature -- consistent with a living eagle.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's forensic lab determined the eagle had been shot with a rifle that matched the caliber of those in Clark's possession, and also that blood found in Clark's vehicle matched that of the dead bird.
The following January, U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents, along with state game wardens, searched a Kern County, Calif., home tied to Clark. There, they found migratory bird parts, including feathers from red-shouldered hawks, great horned owls, turkey vultures and northern flickers.
Agents also found bald and golden eagle parts, including feathers, talons, eagle skulls and bones representing at least seven different birds.
Authorities said Clark is not permitted by the Fish and Wildlife Service to possess the birds or bird parts, and is not a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe.
Clark faces a possible maximum penalty of up to a year and a half in prison and $20,000 in fines if he is convicted on both charges.