Here’s the press release from U.S. Forest Service:
UNDERCOVER WILDLIFE OPERATION CRACKS DOWN ON POACHING IN N.C., GA.
MULTI-AGENCY OPERATION SOMETHING BRUIN DOCUMENTS SCORES OF VIOLATIONS
ASHEVILLE, N.C., Feb. 20, 2013 – 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.
“Operation Something Bruin documented hundreds of wildlife violations. Today’s arrests bring an immediate halt to those crimes and, we hope, will make would-be violators think twice before breaking the law,” said Col. Dale Caveny, law enforcement chief for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “Our long-term goal is to deter illegal wildlife activities from taking place in the future and serve notice to everyone that wildlife officers are ever vigilant in the service of conservation and public safety.”
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; illegal operation of bear pens 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.
“It was natural for us to participate in this operation, because we have a long history of cooperation with state wildlife agencies to protect game lands and management areas,” said Steven F. Ruppert, special agent in charge, Southern Region, U.S. Forest Service. “Because we already have these existing collaborative relationships, we were able to move seamlessly into this joint undercover operation, and keep it going for the necessary timeframes. We were all able to care for the land, its resources and serve the public. This was a win-win for everyone involved – except, of course, for the bad guys.”
Officers began making arrests Tuesday, Feb. 19. Totals given for violators and violations are approximate.
This investigation will help safeguard wildlife by making poachers pay now, and making would-be violators think twice before breaking laws that conserve our natural resources.
For those who persist in wildlife theft, Something Bruin will help agencies better train officers to catch them – an effort strongly supported by hunters and anglers, our nation’s first conservationists.
Learn more at www.operationsomethingbruin.org.