U.S. Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement

Credit: USFWS

Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Pacific Southwest Region Office of Law Enforcement contributes to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.

Our law enforcement today focuses on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources -- illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental contaminants. The Office of Law Enforcement investigates wildlife crimes within the Pacific Southwest Region, helps citizens understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources. This work includes:

  • Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals
  • Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of protected U.S. species
  • Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding critical habitat for endangered species
  • Enforcing federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with states to protect other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities
  • Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade
  • Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species
  • Training other federal, state, tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers
  • Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes

Check out the latest law enforcement stories and news releases on our Office of Law Enforcement home page.

Story Photo

Photo credit: USFWS

Help Protect Wildlife for Future Generations

How can you help protect wildlife? By reporting violations to the proper authorities.

Reporting Federal Wildlife Violations

To report federal wildlife violations, such as unlawful commercialization of wildlife; international and domestic smuggling of wildlife; environmental hazards and destruction of critical habitat negatively impacting protected species; and various other violations concerning take of marine mammals, threatened and endangered species, and migratory birds, you may submit your information by emailing us at: fws_tips@fws.gov.

Be prepared to provide as much detailed information as possible concerning the incident including dates, time of day, exact locations, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions, possible suspects, possible witnesses, and how you obtained this information. Remember, you can choose to remain anonymous.

You may also contact the nearest law enforcement office at one of our field offices.

Reward Program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to pay rewards for information or assistance that leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of seized property. Payment of rewards is the discretion of the Service and is linked to specific federal wildlife laws. The amount of any reward we may pay is commensurate with the information or assistance received. Please discuss the possibility of receiving a reward with the Service personnel receiving your information or assistance.

State Wildlife Agencies

To report state wildlife violations, such as poaching and pollution incidents concerning state-protected wildlife, please contact your local state wildlife agency. Below are links to the main websites for each State located in Region 8 and either their web page for reporting violations or their telephone number.

Story Photo

Photo credit: USFWS

US Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement History

Federal wildlife law enforcement celebrated its centennial in 2000 with the 100th anniversary of the Lacey Act - the Nation's first federal wildlife protection law. That Act's prohibitions on the importation of injurious wildlife and interstate commerce in illegally taken game species were followed by a series of measures aimed specifically at protecting migratory birds. With these laws and treaties came the age of the "duck cop." Policing waterfowl hunters and protecting waterfowl populations from commercial exploitation would long be a major focus for federal wildlife law enforcement.

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