The province is making it easier to report poachers by giving Albertans the option to use smartphones or computers to report suspicious hunting or fishing activity, says a news release dated Nov. 3.
“Our hope is that by making it easier to report suspicious hunting or fishing activity, it will encourage more Albertans to act responsibly when enjoying the outdoors,” Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kathleen Granley says.
“The Report a Poacher program helps ensure Alberta’s wide variety of wildlife species and diverse landscapes are protected for future generations.”
Starting on Nov. 3, people can visit the Report a Poacher website to fill out a form and submit it online.
Information they enter into the form will be sent to fish and wildlife officers to follow up and investigate.
Previously, the only way to report poaching activity, dangerous wildlife or public land abuse was to phone the Report a Poacher hotline.
“The more public support we receive through the Report a Poacher program, the more effective we can be in combatting fish and wildlife crime and public land violations,” says Sgt. Major Adrian Marr of the Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch
“Officers cannot be everywhere at once, and we must rely on the public for their tips so that poachers can be brought to justice.”
Conservation groups support the new system.
“The Report a Poacher program has been an essential part of Alberta’s conservation efforts for many years, and it’s important that we give people more options to report suspicious or illegal activity,” says Ken Kranrod, vice-president of the Alberta Conservation Association.
“The message is clear: hunt and fish responsibly, and don’t be a poacher.”
Emergencies and incidents that need immediate attention should still be reported through the 24-hour Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800. Phoning is still the fastest way to reach an officer, while the new website can be used to report issues that are less urgent.
People reporting through either the phone or the web can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward. Rewards range from $100 – $1,000.
If a person is comfortable providing their contact information, it can help make an investigation more successful as the investigating officer may have follow-up questions.
Any personal information Albertans choose to provide is kept confidential.