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Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov [KE]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — June 20, 2005

10 Separate Operation Game Thief Displays Focus on Regional Violations

UNDATED — Building on the widely acclaimed reception of the 25-foot ‘Operation Game Thief’ Wall of Shame Exhibit, the OGT Committee recently decided to make smaller versions available to each of the 10 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement regions in the state.

OGT is the state’s wildlife crime stoppers program where callers help solve crimes, get rewards and can remain anonymous.

The new ten 16-foot trailers, recently delivered, are each decaled to match the larger version, and each region has been awarded a grant from OGT to complete the interiors to represent illegal activity in the respective regions. The use of these additional trailers will provide Game Wardens across the state a professional exhibit with which to enhance public awareness regarding anti-poaching efforts.

“We are proud of the money that has been raised in the OGT fundraisers that has allowed us to put the smaller wall of shame trailers around the state for game warden use. These trailers provide a great tool to get the word out to the public about poaching, and how the public can be a part of recognizing and stopping this,” said L.D. “Buddy” Turner, OGT Program Administrator at TPWD.

The following are the status reports of trailers in each area:

Austin, Temple, Bryan and the Metroplex: This trailer will be completed by the end of June. TPWD will be adding to it as items are completed by the taxidermists. In this trailer, there are seizures from many types of violations. There are several mounts of deer that were illegally taken. There are examples of fishing equipment violations such as a hoop net, gigging pole, several fish zappers, and telephones (fish shocking devices). There are examples of non-game violations that include illegal traps and wildlife or their parts that cannot be lawfully possessed. This trailer also includes several examples of violations of the threatened and endangered species act. These items include zebra skins, salt water crocodile skin, various belts, shoes, and purses made from assorted reptiles, hippo teeth, a jaguar hat, an ocelot skin, and turtle shells.

Caldwell County: Game Warden Joann Garza hit the ground running with her region’s trailer participating with the new OGT Trailer recently at the Luling Safety Fair. More than 300 people attended the event and the trailer won for best exhibit.

Lower-Coastal Region: This trailer will be ready in August. Wardens already have an exhibit commitment in mid-September. Plans are to display the usual deer and fish mounts incorporating illegal items associated with the commercial fishing industry as well. The trailer will be kept in Corpus and anyone interested in requesting the trailer for an event can contact (361) 289-5566.

East Texas: The wardens there just picked theirs up two weeks ago and are collecting species to have mounted to put in the trailer. There are a group of wardens who will be starting work on the trailer as soon as the bulk of water safety enforcement season is over. Public viewing of the new trailer will start in early fall.

Central/Southeast Texas: TPWD expects to begin development in September with an expected completion date of January.

Upper Coastal Region: Work is pending at area taxidermists to provide mounts for this trailer, and it is expected to be ready for display by the fall.

Northeast Texas: This trailer will be filled with items relating to types of cases filed in this region and it will be operational by the fall.

West Texas: This one will also be ready for display this fall and will feature common regional seizures and violations.

More specific information about each trailer will be available as the trailers develop.

For more information, call Turner at (512) 389-4846.

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