SAFEGUARD FACTS

Safeguard Logo How is Alaska Fish and Wildlife Safeguard organized and what is its purpose?

This program is not a part of State Government. It is an independent non-profit corporation that was organized in 1984 by citizens concerned for Alaska’s fish and game resources. They believed a citizen group, working in connection with Alaska Wildlife Troopers, might help curb unlawful fishing and hunting in Alaska. Wildlife Safeguard’s purpose is to promote fish and game protection by providing a toll free hotline for reporting violations, and funding a reward program for callers. It operates much like Crime Stoppers in that regard.

Back to Top
How is the Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers related to this program?

The Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers is not formally related to this non-profit corporation; however as the agency charged with investigating wildlife related crimes, they receive and act on the information provided by hotline calls.

Back to Top
Please describe how calls to the 1-800 hotline are handled.

Essentially, a person calls the 1-800-478-3377 hotline number to report a violation.

That call is received by an attendant who completes a hotline tip form, following some guidelines required by WSG (Wildlife Safeguard). First they are asked if they want to remain anonymous, and they are cautioned if they don't, their identity can become part of an official investigation and "discovered" during a later prosecution. Second, they are asked if they want to be considered for a reward. If they do, and wish to remain anonymous, they are given a code of colors and numbers and the tip number to refer back to. After the tip information is given, the tip is faxed to the trooper having jurisdiction for investigation. The original is forwarded to the WSG liaison for review to see that it was forwarded to the correct post, and then it is sent to the WSG Board where they catalog and maintain all records.

Back to Top
After an investigation is complete, how is information relayed to the WSG Board?

After an investigation is complete, the trooper conducting the investigation routes information describing what happened as a result of their efforts to the WSG liaison; and they may recommend or not recommend a reward. The WSG liaison then forwards it to the WSG Board to help them during their reward deliberations.

Back to Top
Do the Alaska Wildlife Troopers have any involvement in the ultimate decision to pay rewards?

No, that is the function of the Wildlife Safeguard Board. They try to meet once per month to review cases. The investigating trooper can make recommendations based on his assessment of the tip and how it helped or prompted an investigation.

Back to Top
Are there any inefficiencies in the program?

For Wildlife Safeguard to remain, as a viable anti-poaching program requires the public to actively participate. In its current condition a handful of sportsman are keeping this program alive. They give much of their free time to conduct board business and to operate information booths at gun shows and sportsman’s shows. Clearly, they need help and we encourage concerned citizens to write or call them for more information on the program and its membership. We encourage people to use the hotline to call in observed violations. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers we have in this state need all the eyes and ears they can get. Their effectiveness is absolutely dependent upon that kind of help.

Back to Top
How important is this program?

This very worthwhile program has become less active due to much reduced funding in the last 3-4 years. Although the organization has continued to operate its toll free hotline, reduced donations have forced a slow in organization business, interest has waned considerably and rewards have been paid out at reduced levels and sometimes, less timely.

There are actually three regional boards, one in Southeast, one in South Central and one in the Interior. At this point only the south-central board remains active, although there is a resurgence of interest in Juneau and Fairbanks. Having one Board act on all issues statewide is less efficient than if all Boards were active.

Sometimes the troopers we have in this state are not available to investigate these calls immediately. Many are in remote one-man posts or in busy recreation hotspots where they are already inundated with other labor-intensive responsibilities like congested sport fisheries, contentious commercial fisheries and game patrols that can take them away from phones for extended periods. But, they do the very best they can to address complaints as quickly as they can.

Back to Top
How can citizens help this program?

This cooperative program is vital in helping State government protect its fish and game. It is clear that many Alaskans and visitors to Alaska do not agree with or understand the moral significance of wildlife violations. A program designed to give some monetary incentives to report violations results in reports that may not otherwise be received, and that is a very good thing.

Back to Top