Crackdown in response to a rash of poaching crimes
Following poaching in Grays Harbor in 2010 and spree killings across Washington, The Humane Society has announced a new venture to support the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to fight wildlife crime. Last year, the society donated a robotic elk decoy to law enforcement, which was used in anti-poaching operations. It was used during the most recent hunting season, was not initially publicized in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Fish and Wildlife Police officers set-up decoys in popular poaching spots and covertly wait for shooters to take aim. Robotic elk decoys boost law enforcement’s effectiveness by allowing officers, the wildlife victim, and the criminal to all be at the same place at once, which otherwise rarely happens.
The donation was prompted by several high-profile spree-killing cases in Washington, where multiple elk and other species fell victim to poachers. “Spree-killing,” also known as “thrill-killing,” is a particularly egregious wildlife crime where multiple animals are killed in a single episode. The perpetrators often don’t bother to retrieve their kills, or only recover parts for trophy value.
In late 2010 in Grays Harbor, spree-killers killed four pregnant elk from the road and did not even bother to retrieve three of the animals they had killed. In an earlier case in Grays Harbor County, a group of men fired 50 shots into a herd of elk, illegally killing five of them, and leaving all the elk behind to rot.
“Poaching often occurs in remote areas with few witnesses, making it difficult to bring violators to justice,” said Dan Paul, Washington state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States is very grateful for the tireless efforts of the WDFW officers to crack down on this illegal activity.”
“Poachers steal wildlife from all citizens of the state,” said Captain Bill Hebner of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “This donation, combined with outdoor watch activities provided by hunters and concerned citizens will enhance the effectiveness of Fish and Wildlife Police Officers.”
The Humane Society, along with state and federal wildlife agencies, offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.