By Dave Haviland
The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for driving over a mother harbor seal in Ocean Park, Washington.
According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, on April 20, local wildlife rescuers spotted a mother seal with a newborn baby resting on the sand dunes and put signs up to alert drivers on the beach to avoid the area. By the next morning, it became apparent that a vehicle had run over the mother seal, leaving her paralyzed. The seal was later euthanized and her pup remains missing.
Jennifer Hillman, western regional director for The HSUS said: “Injuring a marine mammal is a serious crime and we are asking for anyone with information to come forward. The Humane Society of the United States is grateful for the efforts of the NOAA enforcement staff who are seeking to bring the culprits to justice.”
Harming a harbor seal is a violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and is punishable by up to a year in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the NOAA fisheries hotline at 1-800-853-1964 or Special Agent Kevin Mitchell at 503-325-5934. Callers may remain anonymous.
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 poached animals are discovered by law enforcement.
Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.
The HSUS and HSWLT work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $5,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.
The HSUS and HSWLT work to curb poaching across the country.
Visit humanesociety.org/poaching for more information. The HSUS recently doubled its standard poaching reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from an HSUS board member.