Corp Comm Connects

Poaching of endangered animals occurring in York Region
Feb. 9, 2016
By Jeremy Grimaldi

When you think poaching, you might imagine elephants being killed for their tusks or sharks being dumped back into the ocean to die after their fins have been removed.

But authorities throughout York Region say poaching is happening right here at home from our lakes, rivers, forests and wetlands, ranging from bear to moose and rare and endangered turtles - most notably the wood and spotted turtle.

Poaching is a serious issue that can have detrimental impacts on the sustainability of turtle populations, says Dr. Andrew Lentini, curator at the Toronto Zoo.

To deal with this issue, Crime Stoppers York Region is organizing a symposium to assist people in their efforts to look out for suspicious activity in natural areas, including off-trail activities, overnight parking or anglers carrying unusual equipment, such as snares or a large number of buckets.

"We encourage people to get involved and help prevent the trafficking of our wildlife," Crime Stoppers York Region chairperson Jack Hurst said.

“The illegal trade of wildlife is the fourth most lucrative criminal activity worldwide, only exceeded by the trade of narcotics, counterfeiting and human trafficking," said David Forster, also from Crime Stoppers.

The wildlife symposium will take place at Newmarket Theatre on Pickering Crescent on March 31 from 6 to 9 p.m..

Federal and provincial organizations have also pledged their support for the campaign and a number of experts will be speaking, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, York Regional Police, the Toronto Zoo, the Ontario SPCA and Environment Canada Wildlife Enforcement.

The global illegal wildlife trade - animals targeted by illegal traffickers include rare species prized by collectors and endangered animals killed for food - is estimated to be worth about $30 billion a year.

Residents who suspect poaching near their homes or farms can anonymously call Crime Stoppers toll-free at any time of the day at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or they can call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry tip line at 1-877-847-7667.