See a wildlife or environmental crime? Call DEC’s new hotline

This shot was found shot with an arrow in July 2011 in Riverhead. It was treated and released back into the wild that September.
This swan was found shot with an arrow in Riverhead in July 2011. It was treated and released back into the wild that September. The person who shot it was never found.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has launched a new hotline for the public to report wildlife and environmental crimes.

The toll-free number is 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). The 24-hour hotline connects callers to a DEC police dispatcher, according to a press release.

There are currently 279 DEC officers deployed across the state and routinely apprehend poachers and polluters, officials said.

Examples of some arrests made by those officers include: “poachers who shoot wildlife from a highway, illegal burning of wastes, exceeding the legal limit for taking wildlife, illegal dumping, overharvest of fish, disposal of waste oil down storm drains, possessing endangered species, illegal use of pesticides and excessive smoke from diesel vehicles,” reads a DEC statement.

DEC commissioner Joe Martens said the hotline will help DEC officers to respond quickly and enhance the department’s ability to protect natural resources.

“The vast majority of sportsmen and sportswomen, and all people who utilize state lands and waters, are great stewards of our environment, but there are a few bad actors out there and we want to know about them,” he said.