A man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the slaughter of 17 Laysan albatrosses at Kaena Point almost a year ago.

Christian Gutierrez, 19, turned himself in at the state sheriff’s receiving station on Keawe Street, where he was booked and released on $25,000 bail.

Gutierrez faces 19 criminal counts. They include 14 counts of animal cruelty as well as criminal property damage, theft and engaging in a prohibited act in a state nature reserve.

Albatrosses at Kaena Point
There are more than 300 albatrosses in the colony that nests at Kaena Point from November to June. Lindsay Young, Pacific Rim Conservation

Two other suspects were  juveniles at the time of the albatross killings Their cases will be adjudicated  in Family Court, where all records will remain private.

Gutierrez is a sophomore at New York University and a graduate of Punahou School.

Christian Gutierrez
Christian Gutierrez 

The federally and internationally protected seabirds were killed in the early morning hours of Dec. 28 in a wildlife sanctuary at the Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve on Oahu’s leeward coast.

Soon after the killings, it was learned that all of the suspects had current or past ties to Punahou School. The school says none of them is enrolled there now.

Albatrosses are up to 3 feet tall and can weigh up to 10 pounds. They can live more than 65 years.

The killers smashed eggs and cut off the feet of some of the birds, apparently to remove identification tags. Some bird monitoring equipment was also stolen in the incident.

Gutierrez’s first court appearance will be in Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. He is represented by attorney Myles Breiner.

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