FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2022
Media contact: Lydia Saldaña
Texas Game Wardens and Dallas Zoo Fight Online Wildlife Crimes
“Operation Wild Web” Ensnares Wildlife Crooks
Thanks to support from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Dallas Zoo, a recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) law enforcement operation in North Texas conducted by Texas Game Wardens netted 15 citations and 10 warnings for the illegal sale of wildlife online.
Dubbed “Operation Wild Web,” the five-day proactive effort targeted the illegal sale of wildlife, wildlife products and invasive species via the internet. Texas Game Wardens searched a variety of websites and social media platforms to find persons selling wildlife and other items illegally.
“Just like many other forms of criminal activity, wildlife crimes thrive online,” said Texas Game Warden Major Brent Satsky, who heads TPWD’s Special Operations unit in the Law Enforcement Division. “These crimes threaten the health of native populations of wildlife, and as the perpetrators move online, so must law enforcement. We appreciate the support of the Dallas Zoo in helping to make this operation possible.”
Cases filed involved wildlife species ranging from reticulated and Burmese pythons, king cobras and rattlesnakes and several species of turtles. Several cases also cited water hyacinth, an invasive species that threatens Texas waterways. The cases involved the illegal sale of threatened species, invasive species, the sale of aquatic products without a fish dealer’s license and selling native wildlife without a permit.
Through a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, the Dallas Zoo funded the operation to help stem the tide of the illegal sale and exploitation of wildlife resources in Texas. “People often think of wildlife trafficking as a problem happening in other countries around the world, but the truth is that it is happening right here in North Texas,” says Chris Corpus, Director of Conservation at the Dallas Zoo. “We know not just international wildlife, but many of our American species of wildlife are being poached and traded at record numbers. It’s going to take all of us to protect these animals and our Texas ecosystems, so the Dallas Zoo is proud to support Texas Parks and Wildlife in their efforts to stop wildlife trafficking crimes.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation raises private funds to advance Texas’ proud outdoor traditions and conserve our state’s wildlife, habitat, recreational areas, and natural resources. Since 1991, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has invested more than $220 million in efforts to ensure that all Texans, today and in the future, can enjoy the wild things and wild places of Texas.
The Dallas Zoo is dedicated to Creating a Better World for Animals. Consistently named one of the nation’s Top 10 zoos by USA Today, it is the largest zoological experience in Texas. The zoo has been accredited continuously by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums since 1985, and features a 106-acre park, more than 2,000 animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. currently), 364 days a year. For more information, visit DallasZoo.com or call 469.554.7500.
Printable PDF of Press Release HERE.