State and federal wildlife officials in North Carolina and Georgia announced today an undercover operation that involved about 80 wildlife violators and some 980 violations.
Primary violations documented by Operation Something Bruin stem from illegal bear hunting but include an array of state wildlife and game law charges. Some suspects could also face federal charges.
The four-year investigation, the largest of its kind in recent years, targeted poachers in North Carolina and Georgia, with work in some adjacent states.
“We take very seriously our duty to investigate the unlawful take of wildlife, and we regularly partner with our state and federal conservation law enforcement agencies to coordinate and share assets and information to accomplish that mission in the most effective way possible. We also want to thank our fellow law enforcement agents and officers who have worked so diligently over the past four years to counter the illegal poaching of black bears, and we are hopeful that this makes a long-term impact that results in increased protection of the black bear.”
Luis Santiago, special agent in charge for the Southeast Region,Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Officers with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the North Carolina 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.Operation Something Bruin partners also included the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.
Officers began making arrests Feb. 19. Totals given for violators and violations are approximate.
This investigation helps safeguard wildlife by making poachers pay now, and making would-be violators think twice before breaking laws that conserve natural resources.
Additionally, the partnerships established through Operation Something Bruin help extend wildlife conservation efforts across multiple law enforcement and wildlife management jurisdictions. Learn more and visit Operation Something Bruin.
Fewer than 10 percent of all wildlife crimes are reported. Help change that trend and help protect wildlife. When you see or hear of a possible violation, call:
- In North Carolina, 1-800-662-7137
- In Georgia, 1-800-241-4113