Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 19:55:15 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tip on wild bird capture
Dear Wisconsin DNR:
We wish to make an anonymous tip regarding an illegal capture of a migratory wild bird.
Sometime on or before November 7, 2007, representatives of the Wisconsin Humane Society illegally captured a healthy and wild bird, specifically a Green-breasted Mango that had been safely living near Beloit for at least several weeks.
We submit that this capture was performed without the proper federal permit, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Regardless of the position taken by the Humane Society, Green-breasted Mango fits all of the statutory requirements for protection by the MBTA, and is therefore protected by federal law.
We also submit that the capture violated Wisconsin state law. We assume that you are well-versed in Wisconsin law regarding wildlife rehabbers. For your convenience, we have included the relevant statutory section below. In brief, Wisconsin law specifically provides that a "wildlife rehabilitation license does not authorize the capture, receipt, possession, traansportation, or transfer of wildlife for any purpose other than wildlife rehabilitation." Since this bird was, as the Humane Society has admitted, completely healthy, was never rehabilitated, and was in fact recently used in conjunction with a prearranged "media opportunity," its capture was "for [a] purpose other than wildlife rehabilitation," and the Society's capture, possession, transportation, and transfer of the bird was in violation of Wisconsin law.
The bird has now been transported across states lines to the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois. We also ask that you consult with the Illinois DNR to inform them of this situation.
We trust that you will take your duty to investigate crimes involving wildlife seriously and will investigate this matter promptly. The illegal capture of the Green-breasted Mango should be treated no differently than the taking or poaching of any other wild animal that is prohibited by law. To allow the Society to evade legal liability based on their argument that it was "helping" the bird by capturing it was set a terrible precedent, and could be used by any poacher to justify their actions as being in the "best interests" of wildlife. The DNR has a duty to enforce the law uniformly, and to treat this unlawful capture in the same manner it would treat any other illegal capture of a wild animal.
We are also copying the Illinois DNR to inform them of this potential violation of Wisconsin law, and to inform them that the subject bird has now been transported into Illinois.
The text of the relevant Wisconsin law is as follows:
NR 19.72 General wildlife rehabilitation provisions.1) The title to all wildlife and their offspring heldunder a wildlife rehabilitation license remains under the jurisdiction of the department as described in s. 169.02, Stats., and may not be sold, traded or bartered without the consent of the department.2) The department may restrict wildlife rehabilitation of specific wildlife species, either statewide or in certain geographic areas to control the spread of disease, to protect public health or to prevent harmful environmental impacts.(3) The department may restrict wildlife species authorized for rehabilitation based on the facilities and qualifications of the applicant or licensee.(4) A wildlife rehabilitation license does not authorize the capture, receipt, possession, transportation or transfer of wildlife for any purpose other than wildlife rehabilitation.