Friday, July 29, 2011

Prospect Park Poachers

On July 17th and 18th NYC Park Rangers issued two ECB and two Criminal Court summonses for killing wildlife and illegally fishing in the latest incident in Brooklyn's biggest park. For years park goers have been complaining about the illegal treatment of wildlife in the park and lack of response from authorities. Wildlife advocates Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman discovered turtle traps last year. (Photo: Stephen Brown/ Community Newspaper Group)


Cops have busted a group of oddball poachers in Prospect Park — a band of vagrants that was trapping and eating ducks, squirrels and pigeons.

Parks officers wrote four tickets — two for killing wildlife and two for illegal fishing — totaling $2,100 in fines during a two-day period last week, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

The city would not immediately release details of the incidents, which occurred on July 17 and 18 — just days after park-goers told rangers about a “Beverly Hillbillies”-like scene on the southeast side of the lake, near the ice skating rink.

“This is a dodgy group,” said park-goer Peter Colon, who spotted one of the men catching a pigeon while his friend started a fire. “They are the most threatening people in the park.”

The disheveled — and possibly homeless — tribe in question uses “makeshift” fishing poles and traps to catch the critters, then grills them over the fire, according to park watchdogs.

“One woman uses a net to bag the ducks,” said wildlife advocate Johanna Clearfield.

Wildlife advocates have long pushed the Parks Department to crackdown on illegal hunting and fishing in Prospect Park — especially after a stunning array of cases in which geese and cygnets were injured by illegal barbed fishhooks and lure.

In the most-dramatic case, a plucky little goose who lost the top half of his beak to a fishhook earned him endless sympathy and the nickname, “Beaky.”

The fishing and hunting ticket blitz comes while park-goers collect and document large mounds of fishing wire, claiming waterfowl are frequently get tangled.

And it’s not the first time that poachers have been busted. Last year, park-goers confronted a man after spotting him catching fish and secreting them into a bag — a violation of the city’s “catch-and-release” rules.

After being confronted, the man dumped the dead fish back into the lake.

The new poaching busts bring to mind last year’s wave of animal murders by the so-called “Butcher of Prospect Park,” whose death toll included waterfowl, chickens, turtles and a goat.

For now, wildlife advocates were hailing this month’s busts.

“The fact that they’re ticketing is great — it’s so badly needed,” said goose lover Mary Beth Artz. “I hope they keep it up.”

Read/View More

The Brooklyn Paper -
By Natalie O’neill

Four busted for killing, cooking animals from Prospect Park
PIX - July 29, 2011 - By Ellyn Maries

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