When you report someone for poaching alligator snapping turtles, you would take home a sizeable sum of money.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was previously rewarding as much as $1,000 to individuals who reported poaching of the threatened species.
The TPWD recently announced that it should double the reward as much as $2,000 if “the tip results in convictions for snapping turtle cases,” due to a rise in funds through the agency’s Conservation License Plate Program, the TPWD shared in a press release.
Alligator snapping turtles are listed as a threatened species and harvesting the turtles is illegitimate within the state of Texas, the TPWD continued.
Poaching reports for the species undergo the Operation Game Thief (OGT).
“The high survivorship and long lives of adults make populations of alligator snapping turtles very sensitive to the removal of even a small variety of breeding adults,” Paul Crump, TPWD’s herpetologist, said in the discharge.
“That’s the reason Texas prohibited collection of this species back within the ’80s and why we’d like the assistance of Texans who work and spend time on the rivers in East Texas to cut back poaching,” he added. “We wish to maintain this species around to assist maintain our healthy rivers and streams.”
Alligator snapping turtles are freshwater turtles that span from Texas to Florida and may be found as far north as Ohio, the TWPD stated.
The prehistoric-looking turtle may be identified by its spiked shell that somewhat resembles an alligator.
For the past 22 years, the TPWD’s Conservation License Plate program has raised nearly $11.6 million that goes towards the funding of quite a lot of wildlife activities, conservation, and research.
The OGT was founded in 1981 after quite a lot of laws were passed by the 67th Legislature in Texas with a view to reduce the quantity of poaching throughout the state.
The agency’s program has “been chargeable for the raising and distribution of funds used to pay rewards, purchase equipment, and supply services to assist Texas Game Wardens since its inception,” the TPWD reported.
Reporters could make an anonymous tip to help game wardens in hopes of preserving those species which can be considered to be more “at-risk.”
“OGT is proud to be a part of a concerted effort, together with the TPWD Wildlife Division and the Conservation License Plate Program, to present at-risk species the highlight they deserve in return for the worth they hold to Texas, its residents, and visitors,” Stormy King, assistant commander of wildlife enforcement, stated within the media release.
“With funds provided by this effort, we were recently in a position to match a $1,000 OGT reward and deliver $2,000 to an anonymous caller who helped convict a turtle poacher. Hopefully, word gets out.”
When you spot an alligator snapping turtle in Texas, the TPWD requests a photo be captured of the turtle and uploaded to the agency’s tracking website.