Friday, March 24, 2006

How often do you link "wildlife" with "law enforcement"?

Despite growing up with a police officer and a victim/witness coordinator for the criminal justice system, I don't readily connect "law enforcement" with birding. Undercover investigations and criminal prosecutions just don't jive with my concept of wildlife.

Luckily, lots of individuals take on the responsibility for making sure that criminals do not get away with illegal activities related to birds. One such individual, Special Agent Jack Baker in North Carolina, recently received the 2006 Guy Bradley Award for wildlife law enforcement.

Baker received the award, which honors the first wildlife law enforcement officer killed on duty in 1905, for a lifetime of service that includes:
- the coordination of a federal/state undercover investigation of illegal commercial waterfowl guiding in the Outer Banks

- successful surveillance operations to stop out-of-season waterfowl hunts

- investigations related to Bald Eagle poisonings and the illegal destruction of eagle nest trees. In fact, because of Baker's work, one landowner had to pay almost $100,000 in restitution after cutting down a nest tree with two immature, flightless eagles.

Congratulations and many thanks to Baker!

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