Why Dutchess County Zoo Animals are Being Fed Illegal Fish
The next time you see a officer from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) at your local Hudson Valley zoo, ask if you can tag along. It could end up being the most fun you have all year.
As an animal lover, I've always wanted to have close encounters with the furry and feathered friends I see in books, on TV, and at the countless animal sanctuaries and zoos in the Hudson Valley. In a very underreported bonus of their job, NYS DEC officers get to do just that when they seize fish that have been illegally harvested in the state.
NYS DEC at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, NY
"On March 20, ECOs [Environmental Conservation Officers] Tompkins and Wamsley donated several fish to the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook. The fish were all seized during recent striped bass enforcement details along the Hudson River", shared the NYS DEC. "ECOs have been donating fish to the Trevor Zoo for years to feed an assortment of animals ranging from owls and hawks to wolves and otters". This visit wasn't like the others, though, because the officers got to do the actual feeding.
What Happens to Confiscated Fish in New York State
Several violations, including fishing for striped bass before the season had opened and anglers harvesting undersized bass led to numerous tickets being issued and many fish being confiscated. Luckily, animals like the critically endangered red wolf at the Trevor Zoo were able to benefit from the ECO's hard work.
Not only is the fresh fish a nice surprise for the animals, but saving money on an extra meal helps the zoo administrators, tool. The NYS DEC works hard to make sure as little waste is created as possible when confiscating illegally harvested animals, including making donations to local food banks in addition to the relationship they have developed with zoos.