USDA Forest Service Special Agent in Charge Steve Ruppert ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
“Operation Something Bruin” – a four-year undercover operation conducted by federal and state investigators in North Carolina and Georgia — has led to the filing of charges against more than 80 violators who are accused of almost 1,000 illegal incidents. Neighboring states also took part in this unusually large project.
Eight defendants from Georgia are accused of 136 state law violations. One accused poacher faces almost 100 separate charges. Suspects might also face federal action.
The primary focus seems to be the illegal poaching of bears, but other violations were enforced as well.
GA DNR Col. Eddie Henderson ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
Col. Eddie Henderson, chief of the Wildlife Resources Division’s Law Enforcement Section, emphasized that the effort also reinforces the public’s role in helping combat poaching and conserve wildlife.
“Conservation officers cannot be everywhere,” Henderson said. “The public can be a great asset by reporting poaching and suspicious activity through their state’s toll-free report-a-violation line. Wildlife belongs to everyone. Reporting poaching helps us protect something the public owns.”
Officers with Georgia DNR and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission infiltrated poaching circles to document violations including:
Violators are accused of using peanut butter to attract bears to shoot, among other illegal activities.
Great Guy & Protector of Wildlife, DNR Ranger Mike Burgamy ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
Operation Something Bruin will safeguard wildlife by bringing poachers to justice and by letting would-be violators know they will be caught if they break laws that conserve natural resources.
For those who persist in wildlife theft, Something Bruin will help agencies better train officers to catch them – an effort strongly supported by hunters and anglers, our nation’s first conservationists.
Fewer than 10% of wildlife crimes are reported. Please help protect Georgia’s wildlife.
We applaud this effort and are glad to see concerns about illegal wildlife activities come to the forefront of law enforcement issues!