In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors began serving to protect the natural resources of New York State. In 2022, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to more than 25,600 calls.
What follows are recently reported incidents involving wildlife rescues:
Pythons Seized – New York City
On August 19, ECO Pansini received a complaint from New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol about two men observed with large pythons wrapped around their shoulders at Battery Park in Manhattan. The subjects were attempting to collect money from the public in exchange for photos with the two pythons.
Officer Pansini received photos of the snakes and forwarded them to a python expert for identification. The expert identified one snake as a Burmese python and the other as a reticulated python. Both species require a DEC permit to possess and are subject to additional New York City regulations. ECOs Pansini and Ableson and Lieutenant Auguscinski responded, and with assistance from New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol and U.S. Park Police, located and detained the subjects.
The Officers interviewed the pair and confirmed they didn’t have the proper permits to possess the snakes. After ticketing the owner of the pythons, the Officers safely removed the snakes using techniques learned recently during advanced training on the capture, handling, and transportation of dangerous reptiles. The reticulated python measured at approximately 12 feet in length and the Burmese python was approximately six feet.
You can read more about snakes in New York State.
On September 4, the New York Marine Rescue Center on Long Island contacted Lieutenant Reilly reporting a loggerhead turtle in the State Boat Channel near the Golgotha Beach Marina in the town of Babylon was hit by a vessel and could not swim on its own. Lt. Reilly, already on the water conducting routine patrols with ECOs Kochanowski and McCarthy, responded to the area while Babylon Bay Constables guarded the turtle with their boat.
Utilizing a net, officers pulled the 175-pound turtle into the boat. Once on board, the officers noticed the turtle suffered from multiple fractures. ECOs met employees from the New York Marine Center at Cedar Beach Marina and with assistance from the Bay Constables, transferred the reptile to a tote and carried it to a vehicle for transportation to the rescue center to receive treatment for serious injuries.
You can read more about turtles in New York State.
On September 9, ECO Burdick received a call for assistance from police in Madison County regarding a massive house explosion on West Elm Street in the city of Oneida. Police advised a stolen vehicle had crashed into the home and severed the gas line into the house, causing the explosion. While area police reported there were no injuries in the blast, several neighboring homes were evacuated as a precaution.
During the evacuation process, officers discovered a six-point, white-tailed deer being kept inside a dog crate. ECO Burdick responded to the location to assist emergency personnel with removing the deer. The homeowner was illegally rehabilitating the animal and had refused to release it, choosing instead to keep it as a pet. Charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing.
You can read more about whitetail deer in New York State.
Read all New York Almanack‘s stories about wildlife.