December 12, 2014
Reward Increased in Hot Springs National Park Deer Shooting
Authorities are seeking information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting a deer on West Mountain in Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for this information, adding to an existing $500 reward from the National Park Service.
On Nov. 29, Hot Springs National Park Rangers, with assistance from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, responded to a call by park visitors regarding a severely injured deer on West Mountain. According to Acting Chief Ranger Jeff Johnson, the deer was bleeding profusely and had to be euthanized. The animal appeared to have been shot that day or the night prior. Evidence collected by Corporal Todd Johnson of AGFC and his canine “Kylie” indicated that the poaching incident occurred near a hiking trail off of West Mountain Drive, close to a parking area.
Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife protection for The HSUS, said: “This is a tragic crime that undermines the challenging and important work of wildlife law enforcement. We applaud the National Park Service for their diligent efforts to bring these criminals to justice and encourage anyone with information to come forward.”
Acting Chief Ranger Johnson said: “The National Park Service is charged with protecting the wildlife and people within its boundaries, and we take our responsibilities very seriously. The poacher responsible left this animal to suffer and blatantly disregarded federal law and public safety.”
Wildlife officials estimate that tens of millions of animals are poached annually nationwide. Only 1 to 5 percent of poached animals ever come to the attention of law enforcement and a conviction often depends on witness testimony. To assist agencies in their efforts to reduce poaching, The HSUS and the Trust work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.
Illegally taking wildlife in a national park system carries a penalty of up to $5,000 in fines and one year imprisonment.
Anyone with information should call the National Park Service’s 24 hour dispatch center at 501-620-6739. Callers are not required to give their names and may remain anonymous.
Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; firstname.lastname@example.org