State and federal wildlife officials announced today an undercover operation involving more than 80 wildlife violators and as many as 900 wildlife violations detected.
Primary violations stem from illegal bear hunting but include an array of wildlife and game law charges. The investigation continues and more charges are possible.
The four-year investigation targeted poachers in North Carolina and Georgia, with some work in adjacent states.
Officers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission infiltrated poaching circles to document violations including bear baiting, illegal take of bears, deer and other wildlife, illegal use of dogs, operation of illegal bear enclosures in North Carolina, and guiding hunts on national forest lands without the required permits.
Officers began making arrests Tuesday. Operation Something Bruin partners also include the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.
“Operation Something Bruin documented hundreds of wildlife violations,” said Col. Dale Caveny, law enforcement chief for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “These arrests bring an immediate halt to those crimes and, we hope, will make would-be violators think twice before breaking the law.”
Simultaneous press conferences were held this morning in Asheville, N.C., and Gainesville, Ga., to announce the results of the four-year undercover operation.
“Wildlife is a shared public resource and conservation is a shared responsibility” said Gordon Myers, executive director of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “North Carolinians can assist wildlife enforcement officers in their duties by reporting possible violations. We all have a vested interest in safeguarding wildlife from poaching. By targeting wildlife thieves, Operation Something Bruin helps protect our outdoor heritage and conserves wildlife for future generations.”
Logo courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission