Oregon program will pay cash for wildlife poaching information


Concerned about ongoing poaching and “thrill kill” incidents, state officials and a coalition of wildlife advocates are offering rewards for information about such cases.

A bald eagle fired a pellet gun in West Linn last year. (Photo by Adrienne Wilson, courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

A new fund will reward tipsters for information on poached or stolen non-game animals, such as raptors, that cannot be hunted.

Until now, callers to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Turn-In-Poachers line, or TIP line, could only receive a cash reward if they called with information about a game species, such as deer, elk and bear, hunted outside of state regulations. These awards are paid by the Oregon Hunters Association.

Now, callers with information about the illegal killing of endangered, threatened or endangered non-game animals will also be rewarded.

Those with information leading to an arrest or citation for poaching eagles, hawks, owls or other raptors, for example, could receive $500. For tips on animals considered threatened or endangered by state or federal endangered species law, the reward is $1,000. These include animals such as wolverines and sea otters. Advice that leads to citations and arrests in the illegal trade of endangered frogs, turtles and reptiles, often sold illegally online or in wet markets, will also be rewarded.

The new rewards are paid for by the Oregon Wildlife Coalition, a group of eight conservation organizations that work closely together on policy and advocacy.

According to Danielle Moser, wildlife program coordinator at Oregon Wild, which is part of the wildlife coalition, poaching in Oregon “remains a significant problem, particularly for endangered or low-population species.”

Moser pointed to the recent poisoning of eight wolves and the poaching of two others in northeast Oregon.

“For a species with a low population, 10 poaching cases can be a significant setback to the population of the species,” Moser wrote in an email. There are about 170 wolves with low numbers in Oregon.

The reward for the information on the murder of these wolves is now up to nearly $48,000.

“Thrill kills” of game in the state continues to be a problem, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Hunters Association. In 2020, the association distributed over $20,000 for information on the illegal killing of game species.

Yvonne Shaw, head of the department’s Stop Braconing campaign, said in a statement that non-game animals are also victims of senseless attacks.

“Raptors, which eat incredible numbers of mice, voles and other crop pests, were targeted,” Shaw wrote. “We lose many amazing birds every year to thrill killers.”

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