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April 12, 2010

Rewards Offered in Two Poaching Cases in Montana

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering two rewards of up to $2,500 each for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of a mountain lion and a mule deer in Bitterroot Valley, Mont. These offers add to existing rewards of $1,000 in each case.

The Case:

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens were investigating an unrelated case in the West Fork area in early February when they discovered a skinned, decomposing animal. Researchers at the University of Montana later identified the carcass as a male mountain lion. It is believed the animal was killed in December or January.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, on Feb. 14, a mule deer buck was found shot and beheaded off Bailey Lane near Corvallis, Mont. A landowner found the carcass about 30 yards from the road.

"With no real witnesses in this type of case, other than the perpetrators themselves, we depend on help from the public to identify those who are responsible," said Warden Lou Royce with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, in reference to the mountain lion case. "Any information, even the smallest detail, could help us break the case and hold the person accountable for killing this mountain lion."

"The individual or individuals responsible for these callous poachings have an appalling disregard for both wildlife and the laws that exist to protect these species," said Wendy Hergenraeder, Montana state director for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States applauds Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for their efforts to find those responsible for these serious crimes."

The perpetrator or perpetrators in each case could face charges of hunting a game animal without a license, hunting a game animal during a closed season and unlawful possession of a game animal. Wardens suspect that the deer was probably shot with the aid of either a spotlight or vehicle headlights, practices that are also illegal.

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.

The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Warden Lou Royce at 406-240-0466 or remain anonymous by calling 1-800-TIP-MONT.

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 240 acres in Montana, 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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