Say hello to Detective Lauren Wendt and her K9 “detective” Benny. They both work long hours searching out outlawed animal parts for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police.
Seattle is the 5th largest port in the nation targeted for the continual importation and trafficking of outlawed animal products from Elephants, Rhinoceros, Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Pangolins, Marine Turtles, Sharks, Rays…
“Wildlife trafficking – the illegal trade of animal products – is pushing numerous species to extinction around the world. This multi-billion dollar international black market involves indigenous species from many nations, including those in the United States.
In response, President Obama created a task force to develop a strategy to combat wildlife trafficking. The resulting United States Strategy and Implementation for Combating Wildlife Trafficking identified three primary strategies: strengthening domestic and global law enforcement, reducing demand for wildlife products, and building international cooperation.”
“…Introduced as Initiative 1401 – and overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2015 – the Washington Animal Trafficking Act (WATA) expands state authority to regulate illicit markets on a local level and provides penalties for noncompliance. WATA provides Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police with the authority to protect certain subspecies of 10 of the world’s most illegally traded endangered species.”
Benny has a particularly keen nose for Ivory. Detective Wendt hid a box of Ivory prior to Benny joining us for a demonstration of his skills. Not only did he find the Ivory within minutes he also found a 9mm clip the Detective had hidden in the bushes. Often clips and cartridges are used as evidence if the officers have apprehended someone who poached one of our Bears, Elk, Moose, Wolves, Eagles, Snow Geese etc.
Detective Wendt and Benny train for hours and hours to hone their skills locating illegal products. Not only do they work together they share their lives 24/7.
Benny’s reward for finding an item is a few minutes with his favorite red ball, which is usually hidden in the Detectives jacket.
Benny came to the Department of Washington Fish and Wildlife through Working Dogs for Conservation. Take a look at all the work they are doing with dogs and protecting our wildlife.
Take a look at all the great work being done by Fish and Wildlife here in Washington. Wherever you reside there is a similar Department doing their very best to protect your state treasures.
You can support Fish and Wildlife by letting your elected official know you want them to continue to authorize funding and legislation that protects our fragile environment.
See our website Let Kids Be Kids. org for more information on our
” Advocacy for those Seeking a Voice.”