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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rhode Island Takes Important Step to Crack Down on Wildlife Poaching

State passes legislation required to join Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact

Stepping up the national battle against poachers, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed legislation that allows Rhode Island to become a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. The national law enforcement network prevents wildlife violators who have lost their hunting, trapping or fishing privileges due to illegal wildlife crimes, such as poaching, in member states from circumventing those license revocations in Rhode Island.

Elise Traub, director of wildlife protection for The Humane Society of the United States said: “The Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact is a valuable resource for cracking down on poaching and will ensure that the Ocean State is not a destination for poachers looking to circumvent their home state’s punishment. We’re so grateful to Representative Patricia Serpa and Senator Catherine Cool Rumsey for sponsoring this bill and to the entire Rhode Island legislature and Governor Chafee for supporting this much needed legislation.”

Rep. Serpa said: “I am so pleased that the legislation I sponsored to allow Rhode Island to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact has been enacted. This will ensure that we join the rest of the country in using this important collaborative tool to protect wildlife and support the work of environmental police officers to prevent poaching.”

The Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact also prevents Rhode Island violators from evading their license revocations by hunting, fishing and trapping in other member states.

Colorado, Nevada and Oregon were the first states to form the compact in 1989. Since then, 39 states have become members of the compact and seven more, including Rhode Island, have passed legislation to join it and a bill is pending in Massachusetts.

  • The HSUS in conjunction with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has offered more than $450,000 in reward funds for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for poaching over the past five years. 
  • Every year, thousands are charged with poaching nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 to 5 percent of poached animals are ever recovered by law enforcement.
  • Poachers exploit animals for personal gain or thrill. With each conservation officer responsible for covering vast areas, deterring poaching crimes before they happen is critical. Strong penalties and collaboration with other states are essential components of any law enforcement effort.