FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reward fund to help stop poaching in Washington
Conservation Northwest announced today that it is partnering with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to expand an enforcement reward fund to assist in apprehending poachers of wildlife from wolves to grizzly bears.
Bellingham - Conservation Northwest announced today that it is partnering with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to expand an enforcement reward fund to assist in apprehending poachers. The initiative is intended to help Fish and Wildlife officers in identifying and investigating instances of the illegal killing of rare wildlife and other extreme cases of big game and other wildlife killings.
Presently, the state provides up to $500 for information helping resolve a felony wildlife case. Through this contribution, a citizen can now be paid up to $7,500 for information that leads to the conviction of anyone who has killed a gray wolf in Washington State, and up to $5,000 if a protected grizzly bear, wolverine, lynx, or fisher were killed. The fund will also pay up to $3,000 for egregious violations involving deer or elk, such as spree killing.
“Our wildlife enforcement community provides an invaluable service,” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest’s executive director and a big game hunter. “They’re out on the front lines patrolling huge areas to protect wildlife, and they deserve our support.”
“Information is the coin of this realm,” said Mike Cenci, deputy chief of enforcement for WDFW. “We appreciate Conservation Northwest’s donation, as it will help us do our job of putting poachers behind bars and keeping Washington’s wildlife safe for everyone to enjoy.”
Poaching is a major concern for wildlife management in the region. There is an indication that four or more wolves may have been illegally killed over the past two years from the Lookout Pack, the first group of naturally returning wolves to take up residence in Washington in many decades. A grizzly bear from the Selkirk Mountains was also illegally killed several years ago. And spree killing of big game and other wildlife is on the rise, with WDFW having convicted perhaps the worst poacher in state history just last week.
Illegal killing of wildlife is broadly condemned. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association has spoken out strongly against wolf killing.
“We in Washington do so much to protect our wildlife and their habitat as our natural heritage,” said Friedman. “It takes less than a second for a coward to wipe out that investment. Let’s make sure the bad guys are held accountable.”