Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rangers vs. Poachers in America's Parks

"One thing to point out that is quite common with poaching here in the Shenandoah National Park and a lot of the national parks is the nexus of drugs and poaching." Park Ranger Cody Murphy.

Many Americans and foreign tourists don't realize this, but national parks in the United States are havens for criminals.

Animals, and in some instances, even park rangers, get killed. Rare natural resources are pilfered. Murphy explains, often times, the poachers are high on drugs, and exchange what they are taking illegally in exchange for more drugs.

Items often poached include different bear parts, such as their bladders, paws and claws. These are often sold to Asian crime syndicates.

Something as innocuous as the root of ginseng plants is also poached, and sold as much as $900 for a dried pound, (about 0.45 kilograms).

"For me, my father was a park ranger," says Murphy, "so there is some tradition there, and I actually got into park rangering for the resource protection side of it. I think it is an honor and a valuable need to protect and preserve the natural resources. The national parks in this country are special places and I take great pride in playing a role in the protection of those natural resources for future folks to enjoy."