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End the Silent Slaughter in Wyoming

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Join us in stopping the devastating impact of antler poaching in Wyoming—act now to protect our wildlife for future generations.

In Wyoming, the illegal collection of antlers has become a pressing issue, threatening the survival of our iconic wildlife and the balance of our ecosystems. This illicit activity, driven by high market prices, puts undue stress on animals such as elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep during their most vulnerable periods.

The Problem

Each year, as winter recedes, antlers shed by elk and other species become highly sought after for uses ranging from crafting to home décor. This demand has created a lucrative black market, encouraging individuals to flout the law by collecting antlers during restricted periods and from protected lands.1 These actions not only violate legal restrictions but also disrupt the natural behaviors and recovery of wildlife.

Wildlife officials report increased stress and decreased survival rates among animals due to human disturbances in their habitats.2 During the critical post-winter period, these disturbances can lead to lower birth rates and higher mortality, affecting the health of entire populations.

Current Efforts and Their Limitations

While Wyoming has implemented stricter collection regulations and penalties, these measures have not sufficed. Poachers continue to exploit the vast and rugged terrains, often evading detection.3 The Wyoming Game and Fish Department uses advanced technology like thermal imaging to combat this issue, but the scale and isolation of the affected areas pose significant challenges.4

Law enforcement efforts are robust around the opening of the legal collection season, yet the penalties currently in place are not enough to deter the most determined offenders. The potential for profit still outweighs the risks of getting caught.1

Take Action

To truly address this issue, we need to bolster our approach to antler poaching. This means increasing penalties to a level that provides a real deterrent and ensuring our wildlife officers have the resources necessary to protect our natural heritage effectively.

Join us in calling for stronger penalties and increased funding for anti-poaching initiatives. By signing the petition, you advocate for a sustainable future for Wyoming’s wildlife and help ensure that our ecosystems remain intact for generations to come. Your support sends a clear message to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department: the people of Wyoming and friends of wildlife nationwide demand better protection for our natural resources.

Support our wildlife. Protect our heritage. Sign the petition today to strengthen anti-poaching measures in Wyoming.

More on this issue:

  1. Christine Peterson, The Guardian (21 April 2024), "Wyoming Antler Bust: Poaching on the Rise as Collectors ‘Cheat the System’."
  2. Christina Stone, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (16 April 2024), "Antler Poaching Leads to Fine and Hunting Ban."
  3. Mike Koshmrl, WyoFile (16 April 2024), "Steep penalties prove ineffective at deterring elk antler heists in Jackson Hole."
  4. Braydon Wilson, Local News 8 (17 April 2024), "Shed Antler Season is rapidly approaching in Wyoming, here’s what you need to know."
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The Petition:

To the Wyoming Game and Fish Department,

We, the undersigned, call upon the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to implement stronger penalties for poachers and allocate more resources towards anti-poaching initiatives. The growing issue of antler poaching in our state not only threatens the survival of wildlife populations but also disrupts the delicate balance of our local ecosystems.

Antler poaching has become an increasingly lucrative activity, driven by high market prices for antlers used in decorations and crafts. This illegal pursuit leads to significant disturbances in wildlife behavior during critical recovery periods after harsh winters. Animals such as elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep face undue stress and lower survival rates due to human interference in their natural habitats. The presence of poachers in restricted areas during vulnerable periods causes wildlife to expend valuable energy they need to survive and reproduce.

Enforcement of current laws is challenging due to the vast and rugged terrain of Wyoming's natural landscapes, which often gives poachers a significant advantage. Despite existing penalties, the allure of potential profits continues to draw individuals into this illegal activity, indicating that current consequences are insufficient as deterrents.

We urge the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to:

  1. Increase the penalties for poaching, making them substantial enough to act as a genuine deterrent.
  2. Provide more funding and resources to equip our wildlife officers with the necessary tools and technology to effectively patrol and monitor known poaching hotspots.
  3. Enhance public education efforts to raise awareness about the legal ramifications of poaching and its detrimental effects on wildlife conservation.

By taking these actions, we will ensure a more sustainable and respectful coexistence with the natural world, securing a better future for Wyoming's wildlife and for all who call this state home. Stronger anti-poaching measures will protect our cherished wildlife populations and preserve the natural beauty and ecological health of our environment for generations to come.

Thank you for considering this urgent appeal.


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