In Georgia there are just 213 game wardens to enforce state fish and wildlife laws, investigate violations, assist with conservation efforts and collect data on wildlife and ecological changes across 16,000 miles of rivers and 37 million acres of public and private lands. Statewide 46 counties have no designated game warden at all. The shortage could lead to wildlife crimes going undetected.
“The more officers we have in the field, the more contact those officers have with the public, the more violations we’ll find,” says Major Mike England, a game warden with the Law Enforcement Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “The locals in the counties without game wardens are very vocal about it; it’s like living in a town with no police department.”