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March 26, 2010

Reward Offered in Bear Poaching Case in Pennsylvania

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing a bear in Perry County, Pa.

The Case:

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, on or around March 12 the remains of a black bear were found in Tuscarora State Forest in Jackson Township, Pa. Wildlife Conservation Officers said the carcass had been dumped about 15 yards over an embankment along Laurel Run Road. 

The male bear weighed about 175 pounds, and his head and paws had been removed. Bear body parts can fetch tens of thousands of dollars on the black market; conservation officers suspect that the missing portions of the bear may have been sold illegally.

"This cruel poaching and callous removal of the bear's body parts demonstrates a reprehensible disregard for the species," said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds Pennsylvania Game Commission for their tireless work to find those responsible for this serious crime."

The individual or individuals responsible for this crime potentially face charges of unlawfulkilling or taking of big game, wanton waste, unlawful devices and methods, and unlawful removal of game or wildlife from place of refuge. The person could face fines of more than $2,000, plus restitution.

Poaching:

  • Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.
  • Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poachers are caught.
  • Poachers kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways.
  • The HSUS works with state wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.
  • Pending federal legislation, The Bear Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 3480), is designed to help stop the illegal poaching of bears and conserve global bear populations by prohibiting the import, export and interstate commerce in bear parts such as the gallbladder and paws.
  • Thirty-four states, including Pennsylvania, ban the sale of bear parts, but the absence of a strong federal law dealing with interstate and foreign commerce makes enforcement difficult. 

The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the South Central Regional Office at 814-643-1831or Turn in a Poacher (TIP) hotline at 1-888-742-8001. Callers may remain anonymous.

The HSUS works to stop wildlife abuse across the country. Visit humanesociety.org/wildlifeabuse for more information.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

Since 1993 the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, alone or in partnership with other conservation groups, has participated in the protection of more than 1.8 million acres of wildlife habitat in 37 states, including 172 acres in Pennsylvania, and seven foreign countries. On all properties owned by the Trust or protected by the Trust's conservation easement, both here and abroad, we prohibit recreational and commercial hunting and trapping and restrict logging and development. The Trust's commitment to these principles will never change as we continue to assist caring landowners to make their property permanent, safe homes for wildlife. Join our online community at wildlifelandtrust.org.

Follow the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust on Twitter.

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