Never thought you'd see something this crazy in New York. No wonder... because it's illegal.

A long awaited investigation has finally come to a close in Upstate New York, officially catching a wild animal poacher red handed. It wasn't an easy process by any means, but these officers deserve credit for the work they put in.

An Interesting Accusation

It all started when the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation received an unlikely call from an anonymous person. They told authorities they knew of a person selling a giant lion skin rug at an estate sale. Interested immediately, the DEC put ECO Wilson and a Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigator (BECI) on the case.

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Both officers attended the estate sale undercover, in hopes of seeing the rug for themselves. During the event, an antiques business owner approached both officers. He allegedly claimed to have the lion skin rug for sale and he'd offer them the best price for it.

Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The officers made the trip to Great Valley, in Cattaraugus County, to visit the mans store. That's where they found the massive rug on sale $1,200. Not only that, but there were also multiple other mounted displays of endangered and protected species.

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After leaving, the two investigating officers returned quickly again to the store. This time they were joined by a team of ECOs and an agent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They seized multiple illegal mounts, which valued at more than $4,000.

Charged and Finally Fined

The man was charged with a misdemeanor illegal commercialization of wildlife. He recently plead guilty in Great Valley Town Court, sentenced to pay a fine of $2,000.

As part of the plea agreement, the subject agreed that if within one year he violates Environmental Conservation Law again, the initial felony commercialization charge will be reinstated.

We should be working to preserve our endangered animals, not poaching them for a pretty paycheck. It's reassuring to see ECOs and other wildlife enthusiasts doing everything they can to protect our wildlife. Even if the animal isn't actually from New York State.

12 Of New York State's Most Wanted Criminals- May 2023

Below are individuals wanted by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's (DOCCS) Office of Special Investigations who have been designated as its Most Wanted Fugitives. They should be considered armed and dangerous. This list is current as of 5/01/2023:

NEVER attempt to apprehend a fugitive yourself. If you have information on the location of any of these fugitives, you can contact OSI 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to report it. All leads and tips are treated as confidential information.

If an immediate response is necessary, such as you see the wanted person at a location, please call “911” and report it to the police.

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