Ontario’s Conservation Officers Patrolling the Web

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Conservations Officers Web Savvy Patrol

Ontario’s conservation officers spend much of their time patrolling the lakes, trails and back roads of the province’s great outdoors, both near and far.  What you may not know is that they are also experienced cyber sleuths.


Increasingly, conservation officers are using the Internet as a special investigative tool.  While the Internet is a wonderful medium for sharing information, it can also be used to facilitate illegal activities, such as the illicit trade in wildlife.  This means officers conduct more and more cyber crime investigations.


Conservation officers now actively monitor the Internet and track down people who are using the web for the purpose of trafficking in Ontario’s fish and wildlife.  They pay particular attention to wildlife trade on major on-line classified websites like Kijiji, eBay and Craig’s List.


In fact, officers have found people using the Internet to buy and sell such things as angler-caught fish, wildlife taxidermy and wild animal parts, such as skulls and meat.  They have even come across people trying to sell live animals, including raccoons, skunks, amphibians and reptiles. This includes a number of cases that involved the illegal trade in endangered species.


The sale of Ontario wildlife – whole or in parts, alive or dead – is generally illegal and those prosecuted face significant penalties.  It is also against the law to possess without a licence or permit most reptile, amphibian, mammal, bird and even some insect species.


The Ministry of Natural Resources enforces the laws against this illegal trafficking.  The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act provides for penalties of up to $100,000 and two years in jail for persons convicted of these types of offences.  Even heftier fines of up to $250,000 and a year in jail are possible under the Endangered Species Act.


What can you do about illegal fish and wildlife trafficking, whether on the web or in the wild?  Report natural resources violations by calling 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free anytime or contacting your local ministry office during regular business hours.  You can also call Crime stoppers anonymously at                     1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

About Peter Wood 1194 Articles
As an avid lifelong angler and hunter, Peter’s outdoor knowledge and experiences keep expanding through his hundreds of hours of hunting and fishing podcast interviews with like minded experts. He has received numerous national writing awards. With thousands of outdoor pictures on Ripple Outdoors and many full-length articles with outdoor magazine and video clips you might say that he not only enjoys his outdoor lifestyle, but he’s quite the fanatic! In 2015 he earned fifth overall on the King of the Wood Contest hosted by Canada In The Rough team, pretty good for a baby boomer deer hunter. His buck was also one of the top bucks taken that season. Through Peter’s deer hunting seminars or by attending outdoor trade shows, like the Toronto Sportsmen Show and The SWOC Big Buck Show, he has connected with thousands of like minded people that love hunting and fishing. As a volunteer or member of local and national outdoor groups like QDMA, SWOC, Outdoor Writers of Canada, Archery Trade Show Association he continues to learn and hone his craft. Read his many articles, listen to his podcasts and rifle through thousands of photos on Ripple Outdoors. Discover Peter’s latest posts about outdoor gear, destinations, how to articles and interviews and you’ll be a better angler and hunter for the experience.