North American Poachers Getting More Dangerous
by Sherry Morse
Posted on August 4, 2003
Poachers armed with modern, hi-tech weapons and sophisticated hunting strategies are posing an increasingly deadly threat both to North America's animals and to the conservation officers who try to protect them.
At the recent annual meeting of the North America Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association in Newfoundland, conservation officers discussed the growing problem of poachers armed with high-tech rifles with night vision scopes, who pose a serious risk to wildlife, according to officers at the conference.
Not only is it more difficult to catch poachers these days, it is also more dangerous to apprehend them. In 2002, seven wildlife enforcement officials were killed in North America.
"It's been getting more and more sophisticated as the poachers become more informed about laws and the new technologies they can use, and the new sophistication is used in hunting," said conservation officer Shawn Avery of Clarenville, Newfoundland. "It makes it more and more difficult for us to stay one step ahead of them."
One of the tools used by officers to try and apprehend the poachers is DNA analysis, but this is not always an option due to the high cost and the time involved in getting results back.
Some animal poachers have been caught when they've tried to auction off animal parts on Ebay. One Newfoundland man faces eighty-eight charges related to his attempt to auction off animal parts on the on-line auction site while another man was convicted in early July for trying to sell a pair of moose antlers on the site. He claimed he did not know what he was doing was against the law.
The court systems in both the US and Canada have been getting tougher on poachers forcing many to forfeit their hunting equipment in addition to spending time in jail.
In the United States the Washington State Division of Fish and Wildlife has a Web site and toll-free number for people to report poachers anonymously.
The Societe De La Faune Et Des Parcs Du Quebec and the Saskatchewan government also provide toll-free numbers to report poachers.
North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Associationhttp://www.naweoa.org/mod.php?mod=us...u=13&page_id=9
Washington State Governmentwww.wa.gov/wdfw/enf/poaching.htm
Societe De La Faune Et Des Parcs Du Quebecwww.fapaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/sos_brac/sos_brac.htm
© 2003 Animal News Center, Inc.