WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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November 08, 2000
Contact: Sean Carrell, (360) 902-2926

Poaching, dangerous wildlife hotlines operated from Olympia

OLYMPIA Two toll-free hotlines -- one for reporting poaching incidents, and one for reporting dangerous wildlife -- are now being operated out of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) Enforcement Program at the agency's Olympia headquarters.

The dangerous wildlife hotline was established in recent weeks to allow callers to report encounters or threats by cougars and bears. That toll-free number is (888) 879-6069 1-800-477-6224. The long-standing Poaching Hotline, (800) 477-6224, also being answered by enforcement staff in Olympia, is for reporting fish and wildlife violations in progress. Calls coming in on both hotlines will be answered by enforcement staff between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A voice-messaging system will allow the public to leave information if enforcement staff is busy with other hotline calls during business hours.

After hours, callers should leave the details of their situation on these voice messaging systems so WDFW officers may follow up. But callers also will be directed to contact their local Washington State Patrol office so that the State Patrol may dispatch an available Fish and Wildlife Officer to respond. WDFW enforcement staff will follow-up on all complaint calls for these two lines.

"Moving both hotlines to Fish and Wildlife Enforcement will provide better public response for violations in progress as well as for dangerous wildlife encounters. It will also provide a more complete tracking mechanism for urgent calls," said Enforcement Chief Bruce Bjork. "This is part of our ongoing commitment to provide excellent customer service."

Bjork said, "It is important for the public to realize that these two hotlines are for critical calls and are not to be used for general information."

Staff in the six WDFW regional offices around the state Spokane, Ephrata, Yakima, Mill Creek, Vancouver and Montesano will continue to respond to general customer service questions as they have in the past; call the regional office listed in local telephone books. General information requests about fish and wildlife issues also may be routed to the main WDFW general information number in Olympia, (360) 902-2200.

Report poaching online! WDFW Enforcement Program has also instituted an online reporting page for fish/wildlife violations.