En­hanced ef­fort to curb il­le­gal fish­ing and hunt­ing

The Avenue News - - NEWS -

The Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice is crack­ing down on the il­le­gal killing of fish and wildlife through a part­ner­ship with Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers. This newly es­tab­lished non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion serves as the state af­fil­i­ate of In­ter­na­tional Wildlife Crimestop­pers, a group ded­i­cated to stop­ping il­le­gal hunt­ing and fish­ing across the globe.

Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers was es­tab­lished to in­crease pub­lic aware­ness of the im­pact of po­ten­tial poach­ing on fish and wildlife pop­u­la­tions, and en­cour­age any­one with knowl­edge of these ac­tiv­i­ties to con­nect with Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice. Neigh­bor­ing states Delaware and Penn­syl­va­nia host sim­i­lar part­ner­ships with In­ter­na­tional Wildlife Crimestop­pers.

“Fish­ing and hunt­ing are long-cher­ished out­door re­cre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties in Mary­land and they are es­sen­tial to con­serv­ing and manag­ing the state’s wildlife pop­u­la­tions,” Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Sec­re­tary Mark Bel­ton said. “When a hand­ful of vi­o­la­tors ig­nore the law, they harm both the en­joy­ment of these pas­times and the fu­ture of the species they are tar­get­ing.”

In­for­ma­tion can be re­layed anony­mously by email, phone or text to dis­patch­ers, who will alert the near­est pa­trol of­fi­cer. If the tip leads to the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of a sus­pected poacher, the Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers board of di­rec­tors may even is­sue a re­ward.

“The pub­lic is our eyes and ears,” Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Col. Robert K. “Ken” Ziegler Jr. said. “We need ev­ery­one’s sup­port in our vig­or­ous pur­suit and prose­cu­tion of crim­i­nals who il­le­gal fish, hunt or trap our fish and wildlife re­sources. The Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice is ex­cited about part­ner­ing with Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers to rec­og­nize those who take the time con­tact us when they be­come aware of an in­ci­dent.”

Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers does not re­ceive any fed­eral or state fund­ing and de­pends solely on fi­nan­cial sup­port from cor­po­rate, in­di­vid­ual or pub­lic dona­tions or gifts. Jack Bai­ley, a re­tired Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice sergeant and St. Mary’s County na­tive, is chair­man of the five­mem­ber board. Other mem­bers in­clude Shawn Der­her, man­ager of Bass Pro Shops at Arun­del Mills; Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice Re­serve Of­fi­cer Stan Samora­jczyk; and Ken Schrader, pres­i­dent of Schrader Out­doors LLC.

Founded in 1997, In­ter­na­tional Wildlife Crimestop­pers sup­ports wildlife law en­force­ment of­fi­cers in 40 U.S. states and five Cana­dian. Re­tired Texas Game War­den Lewis Rather cur­rently serves as ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

“The ef­forts of the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources in cre­ation of their new Wildlife Crimestop­pers pro­gram will prove to be of great ben­e­fit to all who en­joy fish and wildlife, and the great out­doors,” Rather said. “In or­der to ef­fec­tively sus­tain fish and wildlife re­sources, the de­part­ment needs the pub­lic and the pub­lic needs the de­part­ment. Poach­ing is theft of your wildlife re­sources. As a re­sult of work­ing to­gether, poach­ing will be de­terred for cur­rent and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

To con­tact Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers, cit­i­zens can call or text 443-433-4112, email [email protected]­land.gov, or re­port vi­o­la­tions us­ing the de­part­ment’s free mo­bile app. Dona­tions to Mary­land Wildlife Crimestop­pers can be sent to: 580 Tay­lor Ave., E-3, An­napo­lis, Mary­land 21401.

COUR­TESY MD DNR

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