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Dept. of Fish and Game seeks volunteers

January 9, 2009 |  5:47 pm

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The California Department of Fish and Game is seeking Southland volunteers age 50 and over to assist with nuisance wildlife calls, to inspect pet shops, to give educational presentations and to canvass piers, lakes and boat ramps with brochures.

The primary mission of the Senior Volunteer Academy #9 is to “free up state game wardens and biologists to focus on law enforcement priorities,” said state Fish and Game Lt. Kent Smirl. “There is a shortage of game wardens out there right now and an increase in poaching.”

Prospective recruits will go through a comprehensive selection process and background check before entering the academy, which will be held March 2-13 at the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s South Coast Botanical Gardens.

After completing the academy’s 80-hour conservation course, participants will work with a seasoned volunteer during a six-month probationary period.

The agency aims to recruit about 15 to 20 people who have basic computer and writing skills and who are patient and work well in a team atmosphere.

“These volunteers will have no law enforcement authority,” Smirl said. “But they will be a tremendous help in areas such as monitoring pet shops to make sure they are not illegally importing exotic invasive species.”

Interested individuals can contact Smirl by at (714) 448-4215, or e-mail him at ksmirl@dfg.ca.gov.

-- Louis Sahagun

Photo: Volunteer Mandi Strelow Burch examines a black bear. Credit: California Department of Fish and Game.

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