With the nation in the throes of spring and the annual birthing season well underway, you might encounter young wildlife and assume the babies are orphaned. While it may be tempting to “rescue” these wild animals as an act of altruism, it may do more harm than good, so here at The HSUS we’re always working to educate the public about the importance of leaving wild animals in their native habitats—and how to recognize truly injured or orphaned wildlife who need our help. The HSUS has the nation’s largest network of hands-on wildlife care centers in the country, so we know a thing or two about the problems that arise this time of year.
This week we announced a new effort to further spread the word about the importance of keeping wildlife in the wild, with public service announcements that began airing across Wisconsin on Monday. The radio ads (you can listen to them here and here) are a joint venture between The HSUS and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The project is one component of our nationwide anti-poaching program. Poaching, a broad term that encompasses any illegal “take” of wildlife, is an unethical practice that animal advocates, wildlife officials, and most hunters detest. While we don’t always see eye-to-eye with sport hunting organizations, we do see eye to eye with many rank-and-file hunters and cracking down on the illegal harming of wildlife is one arena where we share common ground.
Poaching is a problem of staggering and rising proportions—it’s estimated that for every wild animal killed legally by sport hunters, another is killed illegally, amounting to tens of millions of animals poached annually. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only a very small percentage of poachers are ever apprehended.
As the number of hunters gradually declines, and the number of wildlife watchers increases, the agencies charged with enforcing wildlife protection laws are increasingly recognizing the value in working with new partners. We’re pleased to join forces with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in this area of common concern, and we’re involved in similar collaborative efforts across the country. We’ve offered rewards on poaching cases from Pennsylvania to Louisiana and Utah to North Carolina, sponsored specially trained dogs who help wardens crack down on poaching in California, and donated decoys through our affiliate the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust to help catch poachers in Oregon.
We’re committed to expanding our anti-poaching efforts and supporting the law enforcement officers that bring wildlife abusers to justice. To help us in this work, see humanesociety.org/poaching.