Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 to 5 percent of poachers are caught. Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
A radio-collared female gray wolf was found dead in Colorado after her GPS tracking collar emitted a mortality signal. Toxicology reports performed at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory revealed that she was killed by ingesting poison.
The body of a mutilated alligator was discovered in the Flint River, Georgia. The alligator’s tail had been cut off.
A bald eagle with a broken wing was found near Wise, North Carolina. The bird had been shot and was treated by a veterinarian, but later died from the injuries.
The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and its parent organization, The HSUS, have offered more than $100,000 in rewards for the arrest and conviction of poachers. Poaching, the illegal hunting and killing of animals, results in the death of tens of millions of animals every year, a number equal to all legal hunting combined, according to estimates of wildlife officials.
Rewards have been offered in cases involving many different wild animals, from mule deer and elk to bald eagles and bobcats. These rewards not only encourage people to give information to wildlife officials, they also raise awareness of this wide-spread illegal activity through the use of press releases.
What You Can Do
With very limited resources and acres upon acres of land to cover, wildlife officials need the help of caring, compassionate outdoorsmen. Wildlife belongs to all people, but poachers step into America's wild backyard set to exploit animals with the knowledge that they probably will not be caught.
But by state wildlife agencies sharing information on poachers and citizens taking our role as stewards of wildlife seriously, we can stop these killers.
- Equip yourself with knowledge. Headed out to go hiking or bird-watching? Know your state's wildlife regulations and hunting seasons so you can readily identify violations.
- If you see suspicious activity, don't try to confront the individual. First, get a description of the poacher, the vehicle, and surrounding area.
- Second, call your state wildlife enforcement department immediately. Timeliness is necessary to catch poachers.
To contribute to this and other HSWLT programs, donate here.