Regional News

ODFW Launches New Anti-Poaching Campaign

PORTLAND, OR -- Last year, nearly 5,000 poached animals were found in Oregon, and experts say that’s only a fraction of what’s illegally taken around the state. The “Protect Oregon’s Wildlife - Turn In Poachers” campaign aims to reduce that number. "What we really want to do is educate and inform Oregonians on how to recognize and report poaching," says campaign manager Yvonne Shaw. It's part of a three-pronged approach approved by the 2019 legislature, which also includes increasing the number of State Police Fish and Wildlife troopers and assigning a special prosecutor within the Oregon Department of Justice. 

Shaw says the illegal killing of animals impacts quality of life in our state, "Part of that quality of life is being able to experience the natural wonders of our outdoors. And part of that experience, of course, includes being able to experience fish and wildlife." But poaching also has big environmental impacts. She says animals already face challenges from climate change, the loss of habitat and conflicts with vehicles, "This is just one more thing that impacts our wildlife populations across the landscape. But this is something that we can control."

Highway billboards are going up for the campaign and there are print and digital ads, even a series of YouTube videos. "For people who don’t understand what poaching is, we really want to raise their awareness that it exists and educate them on how they can identify it, or some things to watch for," Shaw tells KBND News, "And then, for people who are already in the outdoors a lot, they already are out there hunting and fishing, we want to let them know they can report anonymously." ODFW offers hunter preference points for tips that lead to an arrest or citation, and other groups provide cash rewards. 

She says a statewide survey revealed most Oregonians would report poachers but don’t know how, "Only about 30% of respondents knew to call the Oregon State Police tip line. Many people thought they should call the Department of Fish and Wildlife or local law enforcement."

Learn more about poaching and enforcement, or submit a tip at the new website ProtectOregonsWildlife.com

file photo: Officers pose with evidence from a La Pine poaching case.

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