National Parks are around for all U.S. citizens to enjoy. However, when something from the park goes missing, such as a fossil footprint, it affects everyone. Not only does it affect park visitors, but scientists as well who need to know where they were made to figure out which animal created it.
In Death Valley National Park on the border of California and Nevada, a fossil of a footprint was stolen. Investigators are expanding the search for the artifact this week. They are asking any and all parkgoers if they have noticed any unusual activities going on in the parks facility. Officials are also asking if anyone has seen or knows the person backpacking in the photograph above. The park has set up a one thousand dollar reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest of the thieves.
Linda Slater, Chief of Interpretation at the park, told reporters that it is possible for someone to sell the footprints on the black market. She says she does not know what someone would pay for the fossil, but since it belongs to the National Park, technically, it belongs to everyone.
Officials have no reason to doubt that the men in the above pictures have something to do with the fossil’s whereabouts. It’s also easy to see that one of the men has a metal detector in the photo. Metal detecting is not allowed in National Parks.
The fossil was found to be missing last month after scientists went to the site for research. Officials now want to interview recent parkgoers who may have seen something or have information on the fossil.
Slater didn’t know which animal made the fossil, but she believes it to have been a small animal.
It is very unfortunate that the fossils are not in their original location. What makes fossils like these so important is that scientists use them to tell the history of that area.
And those who live in Death Valley would like for all of the stealing and vandalism to end.
Slater states that Death Valley has die-hard fans who are heartbroken with what has been going on in the park.
If you have any information on the backpackers or the lost fossil, please call the Investigate Services Branch at 888-653-0009.